The Anonymous Widower

London To Rainham And Back On Thameslink

Today was the first Monday of a new timetable and I took a trip to Rainham (Kent) station from London Bridge on the new Thameslink service,, before returning to Abbey Wood station.


  1. I took a picture at each station as we went out to Rainham.
  2. There is a lot of housing and commercial development going on by Dartford and Rochester stations.
  3. Thameslink are scheduled to run trains between Luton and Rainham (Kent) stations every thirty minutes.
  4. There were two Class 345 trains at Abbey Wood station.
  5. I went in a Class 700 train with eight-cars.

There was the odd cancelled train on the route, but what surprised me on the return journey, was that my train passed four Class 700 trains going in the other direction.

I must assume, that Thameslink were training more drivers for the route.

The Service I Took

The Thameslink service between Luton and Rainham, that I took from London Bridge to Rainham is a replacement for the Southeastern service between Charing Cross and Gillingham.

  • Both services use the same route between London Bridge and Gillingham.
  • Both services stop everywhere between London Bridge and Gillingham.
  • Both services are well-connected to other services at Abbey Wood (Crossrail), Woolwich Arsenal (DLR), Greenwich (DLR) and London Bridge (Northern and Jubilee).
  • The previous Southeastern service took 66 minutes between London Bridge and Gillingham,
  • The current Thameslink service is timetabled to take 82 minutes.
  • The Thameslink service takes over forty minutes to turn round at Rainham.

Given that the Thameslink Class 700 trains are 100 mph trains and the previous Class 465 trains are only 75 mph trains, I find it extraordinary that faster and more modern trains are delivering a slower service.


There have been complaints about the new timetable, so I asked a couple of station staff, what they felt about the new Thameslink service from Luton to Rainham.

They seemed in favour and added, these points about the service.

  • It would help with getting the service out of trouble, when there were delays East of Rainham.
  • It gives a direct connection to Dartford.
  • The extra capacity will help.

The service to Rainham will surely act as a collector service for those changing to Crossrail at Abbey Wood.

Rainham to Bond Street with a change at Abbey Wood, should be under an hour and a half.

May 21, 2018 - Posted by | Transport | , , , ,


  1. Another major con it stops at too many bloody stations! Why should Medway commuters have their journeys slowed down to a all stops metro route!? Makes no sense

    Comment by Nick | December 11, 2018 | Reply

    • I’m not sure, but it’s just my perception, that the Class 700 trains are not as nimble as the Class 345 trains on Crossrail.

      They seem to have 5 MW of power, as against the 5.04 MW for a 12-car Class 387 train. But that is a 110 mph unit, so I do wonder if the Class 700 train is a train that needs to be on a diet!

      If a train is very nimble, it should be able to make a lot of stops and keep up with the timetable.

      In all this, you have to remember that the Thameslink trains were specified by the DfT under control of the Treasury, so I wouldn’t be surprised that the trains are not what engineers thought they should be.

      Hence the lack of wi-fi, power sockets and tables.

      If I were the manager of Thameslink, I would feel that the route should have two classes of trains.

      A more comfortable 110 mph unit for the longer routes.
      A more basic 100 mph unit for the shorter routes.

      Look at Greater Anglia’s philosophy with 100 mph Aventras on shorter routes and higher quality trains with First and a buffet on the long ones.

      Comment by AnonW | December 11, 2018 | Reply

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