The Anonymous Widower

Will Innovative Electrification Be Used On The Uckfield Line?

Chris Gibb’s report into the Govia Thameslink Railway franchise recommended electrification of the Uckfield Line. The September 2017 Edition of Modern Railways has a detailed examination of the proposals.

Reasons For Electrification

Various reasons are given for the electrification.

  • Removing diesel trains from London Bridge station.
  • Operational flexibility.
  • More capacity
  • Stabling and refuelling considerations with the current Class 171 trains at Selhurst depot.
  • Increasing operational efficiency.

The Class 171 trains would probbly be better suited to other routes.

25 KVAC Ovhead Electrification

One of Chris Gibb’s recommendations is to use 25 KVAC overhead rather than 750 VDC third-rail electrification in an area, where third-rail is the norm.

He states that this is on cost grounds.

  • Third-rail needs a feed to the National Grid every two to three miles.
  • Overhead wires might need just one.
  • DC has higher transmission losses, than AC.

He also suggests the following.

  • Changeover between the existing third-rail and the new overhead systems would be South of Hurst Green Junction.
  • The three tunnels on the route would be electrified using overhead conductor rail.
  • Dual-voltage trains would be needed, which would change system on the move.
  • Class 377 or Class 700 trains would be used.

He also indicxates that Class 379 trains would be available from 2020.

Stabling At Crowborough

Chris Gibb suggests building stabling for four twelve-car trains at Crowborough for the following reasons.

  • It would improve crew efficiency.
  • Itwould give more time overnight for maintenance and train cleaning.
  • It would eliminate 75,000 miles of empty running a year.
  • It would give a £3.6 million a year cost saving.
  • It would give more space at Selhurst depot.

This sounds like a good idea.

Project Management And Finance

Chris Gibb gets very innovative about how the project should be managed, by suggesting that SNCF do the design for the electrification and then directly hire the contractor, bypassing Network Rail.

He also suggests an innovative way of financing the project, using private finance.

The Government’s Response

Chris Gibb recommendations of electrification and the stabling of trains at Crowborough have been accepted by the Government.


Surely, if private finance and planning permission can be obtained, this project should go ahead.

August 24, 2017 - Posted by | Transport | , ,


  1. […] Innovative electrification on the Uckfield Line […]

    Pingback by Good News For Southern Rail Users « The Anonymous Widower | November 24, 2017 | Reply

  2. […] I looked at Chris Gibb’s recommendation for this line in Will Innovative Electrification Be Used On The Uckfield Line? […]

    Pingback by What Will Happen To the Class 379 Trains? « The Anonymous Widower | December 6, 2017 | Reply

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