End of an era as oldest Thameslink trains retire – with final journey from Brighton this evening

Posted On 27 Aug 2017 at 3:45 pm

The oldest trains in the Thameslink fleet are being retired today (Sunday 27 August) with the final passenger journey leaving Brighton for Bedford at 6.14pm.

The old trains – class 319s – came into service almost 30 years ago when Thameslink began operating in 1988.

One of the Thameslink class 319 trains, left, at Brighton Station

The route used the Snow Hill tunnel – which had been closed to passenger trains for 72 years although it was used for some years by freight trains.

The use of the Snow Hill tunnel enabled north south services to run through London.

The Thameslink route has recently been the subject of a big capital investment programme estimated to cost more than £5 billion.

Along the route London Bridge and Blackfriars stations, among others, have undergone extensive modernisation.

Thameslink has also introduced new rolling stock – a fleet of class 700 trains.

There will still be some older trains – class 377s – on the route but these are less than 10 years old.

One longstanding Thameslink passenger said: “It’s the end of an era.

“Change takes a lot longer on the railways than most people realise.

“The scale of the planning, finance and scheduling is so complicated and long term that it’s easy to underestimate exactly what goes into it.

A Thameslink class 700 train, right, at Brighton Station

“Of course it’s vital too and, as most passengers know, the slightest glitch can cause havoc.

“You’ve only got to look at Thameslink or Crossrail or the Channel Tunnel Rail Link to see the scale of it all.

“But passenger numbers have soared in the years since the Thameslink route has been open – it’s actually a real success story.

“And it will be interesting to see whether we might get some progress now on the proposed second Brighton Main Line (BML2).

“It may take years but I think the important decisions will have to be made very soon.”

  1. Ken Ward Reply

    Well, that is fabulous news. Of course, up here in the north west we are also having some “new” trains. These are 30 years old 319 class electrics but some have to have a conversion to diesel due to the electrification upgrading being cancelled. Really looking forward to riding our new classy trains.

  2. Andrew Williams Reply

    Lets see then on on the Eastbourne line to Brighton or the isie of Wight then or a café

  3. Christopher Kibbey Reply

    I’ve been using the new Type 700 for a few months now and in my opinion are torture chambers on wheels for anybody over 5 foot in hight. The window seat floor area is miniscule due to the inward slope of the wall. With the combined effect of this and practically no legroom between the iron hard seats, passengers have to either sit diagonally or keep one leg lifted though ought the heir journeys. These trains are worse than cattle trucks and need the Health & Safety Executive to take a long hard look at them before somebody gets injured.

  4. Simon bullock Reply

    Doesn’t really matter what the train type is
    As they can’t run without a driver
    As today’s train at 06.06 was cancelled
    For this reason

  5. Simon Cooper Reply

    And so after 30 years and with new rolling stock Thameslink will still not have seating that is fit for purpose. The old were really uncomfortable and the new are no better. These trains re fine on short commuter/metro type routes but London to Brighton is over an hour and you need a proper seat! The claim that more seating is available is a hollow boast when only a few trains a day have a real crowing issue.

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