Great Northern reveals new trains with more capacity, air-conditioning, Wi-Fi and power points

PUBLISHED: 10:26 04 October 2018 | UPDATED: 12:04 04 October 2018

Trains are delayed after disruption between Welwyn Garden City and Stevenage. Picture: Great Northern

Trains are delayed after disruption between Welwyn Garden City and Stevenage. Picture: Great Northern

Archant

Great Northern will soon be introducing trains with more capacity and air conditioning, which according to one commuter “will make a massive difference”.

On board the first Class 717 in passenger service. Picture: Great Northern.On board the first Class 717 in passenger service. Picture: Great Northern.

Great Northern gave passengers on its suburban route a sneak preview of its new £240million air-conditioned train fleet on Friday, September 28.

The 25 six-carriage Class 717 trains will replace mainland Britain’s oldest electric trains, the 40-year-old Class 313s, with a phased introduction due to run from late autumn this year to spring next year.

As well as air conditioning, Wi-Fi and power points, the new trains, built by Siemens with funding by Rock Rail, will provide a 27 per cent increase in capacity to address the near-doubling of passenger numbers on Great Northern in 14 years.

The new fleet will operate between Moorgate and Hertfordshire, to and from Stevenage, Hertford North and Welwyn Garden City.

On board, Samantha Radford, from Gordon Hill, who travelled on the first passenger service from Moorgate to Gordon Hill. Picture: Great Northern.On board, Samantha Radford, from Gordon Hill, who travelled on the first passenger service from Moorgate to Gordon Hill. Picture: Great Northern.

First passenger on board, Samantha Radford, said: “This is better for commuting, it’s so spacious.

“I will probably favour this with its air conditioning and better layout over the Underground.

“I think the air conditioning is a huge comfort issue, especially for anyone with small children or a health condition – it is going to make a massive difference.

“I also like the Wi-Fi and the fact you can charge your phone.”

WiFi and power sockets. Picture: Great Northern.WiFi and power sockets. Picture: Great Northern.

Gerry McFadden, director of engineering at Great Northern’s operator Govia Thameslink Railway, said: “These spacious new trains are a key part of our RailPlan 20/20 programme to modernise services in the South East.

“Wide doors and spacious interiors will help address the huge increase in passenger numbers into Moorgate, and also help passengers board and alight promptly, helping us keep trains running on time.”

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