The Anonymous Widower

The Trains For Crossrail And Thameslink

London’s two new cross-town railways; Crossrail and Thameslink will both be fully opened around the end of this decade.

So it would seem logical that the two lines might share the same trains.

But it is not as simple as that!

All sorts of factors like delaying of projects, the slightly different natures of the two lines and the  decision of Siemens, who won the contract for the Thameslink trains, to withdraw from Crossrail, because of a lack of capacity, mean that we now have two separate train fleets; Class 700 for Thameslink and Class 345 for Crossrail.

Although separate train fleets, it does look that the design philosophy of the two trains is very similar. Take this paragraph from the specification issued by Crossrail for their Class 345 trains.

Wide through gangways between carriages, and ample space in the passenger saloons and around the doors, will reduce passenger congestion while allowing room for those with heavy luggage or pushchairs.

From what I have read here on First Capital Connect’s web site, the Class 700 might be very similar.

So it would seem that four of London’s important new train fleets will be walk-through. In addition to the Class 345 and Class 700, the Overground’s Class 378 and the Underground’s S Stock are build to similar principles, although the latter two trains, probably expect more standing passengers.

One advantage of these trains is that they can be designed to line up with the platform edge, as the Class 378 generally do, which enables a simple step across the gap into or out of the train. At some stations, like Willesden Junction, on the Overground, the alignment is bad and you certainly notice the difference. So I will hope that the two new train classes line up with the platforms! As on Crossrail and Thameslink most stations will only be served by one type of train, I suspect that it could be possible.

In my view, if we are to have a step-free railway, then all station-train interfaces, should be a simple step across.

Another advantage of this type of train, is that you can walk inside the train to less-crowded areas or perhaps to your preferred door for exit at your destination. I do this regularly, when I take the short hop from Highbury and Islington to Dalston Junction stations on the Overground, as I get in at the front and get out at the back, due to the layout of the two stations.

This walk-through capability will be essential for Crossrail, where the trains and platforms will be 200 metres long. One of Crossrail’s engineers told me, that she felt some people might not like the trains because of their length and the long walks in stations. I don’t think regular users will mind so much, as they’ll develop a strategy that works for their journey. But will a tourist dragging a heavy case going from say Heathrow to Bond Street, be so happy after walking a long distance to get out the station.

The various proposals for new deep-level Underground trains seem to have through gangways like this proposal from Siemens.

So is a de facto standard for train design emerging, where trains have through gangways, flat floors and wide doors with no-gap step-across access?

I think it is and it will be to the benefit of all rail users, including the disabled and those pushing buggies or dragging heavy cases.

Looking at the pictures I took of Siemens Underground proposal, it seems the design fits such a standard!

A secondary advantage of this design is that it should tighten up stopping time at stations, thus making it easier for trains to keep to schedules.

July 9, 2014 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] everybody else has low platforms and several steps up into the train. As I pointed out in this article. In the article I quoted from  the specification issued by Crossrail for their Class 345 […]

    Pingback by Do We Need Double-Deck Trains In The UK? « The Anonymous Widower | July 21, 2014 | Reply

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