Posted 4th February 2009 | No Comments

£2m extension opens to await new train fleet

First Capital Connect managing director Elaine Holt joins depot manager Jason Long to declare the extension formally open.

A £2.2 million extension to First Capital Connect’s Bedford depot has been completed in readiness for the arrival of 23 new trains.

The Class 377 four-car Electrostar trains are an integral part of the £5.5 billion Thameslink Programme, which will radically increase the route’s capacity.

They will operate on a new timetable, allowing Network Rail to begin rebuilding Blackfriars station in London to take longer 12-car trains.

The Cauldwell Walk Traction and rolling stock maintenance depot will also be taking on another four Class 319 four-car units to boost Thameslink services through central London, bringing its new maintenance responsibility to a total of 436 coaches.

Built on a former ballast pit in 2004 to accommodate 43 four-coach Class 319s, the depot’s workload of Class 319s later increased to 82.

The new extension has provided a fifth covered track with centre and side pits and a door level platform to service new and existing stock.

FCC managing director Elaine Holt, who attended a formal opening of the new Cauldwell Walk extension, said: “With our contractor Fitzpatrick we completed the project to time and within budget in just eight months, despite having to work in a very constricted and intensively-used site.

“And in a welcome boost to the local economy, we’ve employed an extra 27 engineers, many from Bedford, Milton Keynes and surrounding towns.”