Some travellers taking the Thameslink service from Brighton to London – and back – will be making the journey in new trains from next month.
Govia Thameslink Railway, which took over the service in September, is testing its new fleet of Electrostar class 387/1s in December.
They will replace the existing rolling stock from the new year, the company said.
It added: “The fleet of 116 air-conditioned carriages, which will transform Bedford to Brighton services for Thameslink passengers, will be trialled in passenger service throughout December and from the new year will begin to replace the 27-year-old class 319 trains.”
Govia Thameslink Railway also announced that it had signed a £145 million deal for 108 custom-built carriages for the Gatwick Express route.
The class 387/2 trains will also serve Brighton at certain times of the day from 2016, replacing the 1980s-built 442s which came into service in 2008.
The company said: “The 27 four-car class 387/2s trains will be specially designed for the rail-air route, with easier boarding, better luggage space, two by two seating and wifi.”
Govia Thameslink Railway chief executive Charles Horton, who is also the managing director of Southern, said: “This is great news for our Gatwick passengers but also for those travelling from Brighton, as in the off-peak some of these trains will be extended to there, while still maintaining the fast connection between Victoria and Gatwick.”
“We took over the operation of the Thameslink route in September and already we are introducing new trains which will transform our passengers’ journeys on services between Bedford and Brighton.”
Southern ordered the fleet last year, the company said, to help facilitate the Department for Transport’s electrification programme until the Siemens-built class 700 Thameslink trains enter service.
They will secure an increase in capacity for rail passengers by allowing the early release of other electric carriages to newly electrified routes.
Together the fleets represent a £317 million investment in railway rolling stock.
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