First Capital Connect Thameslink ‘not scrapped’

RAIL operator First Capital Connect (FCC) this week reassured passengers that new trains on order for the Thameslink line have not been scrapped.

A BBC radio programme this week suggested that the Government has cut the order for the new trains.

An FCC spokesman said: “It appears that the Radio 4 consumer programme You and Yours confused the Thameslink new trains order with a general statement made by the Department for Transport about the pause this financial year in placing new train orders for other projects.

“As a result some people are saying the government has cut the order for the new Thameslink trains. This is simply not true; a contract for the new trains is still due to be signed by the end of the year and we should know who the successful manufacturer is set to be this summer.”

The �5.5bn Thameslink Programme has already delivered 23 new trains and almost 5,000 extra seats per day in the peak with new journeys from Kent and south London across the capital.

He continued: “Congestion can only be cut further by running longer 12-carriage trains on the Thameslink route. The Thameslink Programme is already well under way with millions of pounds spent lengthening platforms at stations such as St Albans and work well under way rebuilding key London stations to accommodate longer trains. It is therefore vital to customers that the new trains order comes to fruition.

Overcrowding is one of FCC customers’ main concerns. Two years ago, 50 per cent of regular users on the Thameslink route said trains were sometimes so full they couldn’t get on but by 2026 FCC expect passenger numbers to rise by 25 per cent.