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New trains start running on local lines

Roll-out of new Class 717 trains underway

Image: Exterior of a Class 717 at Gordon Hill on the Hertford North line  Image by Superalbs, released under Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0
Exterior of a Class 717 at Gordon Hill on the Hertford North line
Image by Superalbs, released under Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0
Two of the new Class 717 trains started running on services to and from Moorgate on Monday 25 March. Great Northern says the trains are part of a phased roll-out over the coming months. The process is expected to be completed later this year.

Great Northern, part of the Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) franchise, says the new trains have been “custom-built for the route as part of a £240 million investment” to entirely replace Great Northern’s oldest train fleet, the Class 313.
“passengers will gradually see all train services operating between Moorgate and Hertfordshire, to and from Stevenage, Hertford North and Welwyn Garden City, operated by the new Class 717 fleet.”
GTR says that for the first two weeks of passenger service, starting on Monday 25 March  two Class 717 trains will be running on the following routes and calling at all stations throughout the day. Additional Class 717 trains will be gradually introduced in subsequent weeks. Click on schedule below to enlarge.

Image: GNR schedule

Image: GNR schedule

Image: Interior of a Class 717 Image by Superalbs, released under Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0
Interior of a Class 717
Image by Superalbs, released under Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0
The company lists the benefits for passengers as follows (details taken from the Great Northern website).
  • Air conditioning for improved comfort on-board
  • Connectivity with free Wi-Fi throughout* and power points at every pair of seats
  • Space for approximately 100 extra passengers per train, because passenger numbers on Great Northern have more than doubled in 16 years and this will give you more space
  • Wider doors, wide, open aisles and open, interconnected carriages (like a bendy bus) so that all passengers including those with accessibility needs can move easily throughout the entire train. The trains have been designed so that people can board and alight quickly, helping to keep trains running on time
  • Two-by-two seating instead of unpopular three-by-two seating
  • All trains are fixed at the maximum size of six carriages that can fit into platforms
  • Each train has the latest accessibility features; including more visible grab handles and wheelchair spaces with clear markings on the carriage exteriors
  • Live updates from London Underground available inside the train so passengers can plan onwards journeys (except between Drayton Park & Moorgate)
*Wi-Fi will be available on all services except when the train is underground between Drayton Park and Moorgate.

According to GTR there are no toilets on board the new Class 717 trains, because “stations on the route have toilets so with rising passenger numbers, creating as much space as possible for passengers has been the priority”.

Richard Clinnick (@Clinnick1) tweeted the following from the 11.30am train from Moorgate to Welwyn Garden City.

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