Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin today (15 October 2015) formally opened the Three Bridges traincare facility in Crawley, West Sussex, marking a major milestone for the government’s multi-billion pound Thameslink Programme.
The programme - due for completion in 2018 - will transform journeys for passengers, with new trains, substantially increased capacity, improved connectivity and upgraded stations.
The depot will play a significant part in housing and maintaining the new 1,140 carriage fleet for the expanded Thameslink network which when complete will operate from Bedford, Cambridge and Peterborough to Brighton, Horsham, Gatwick, Maidstone and Sevenoaks.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:
Our plan for passengers is delivering real improvements for those who use Thameslink services.
The opening of this state-of-the-art facility is a major milestone and paves the way for an impressive new fleet of hi-tech trains to come into service from spring next year.
The improvements will transform rail travel for millions of passengers, with better journeys on fantastic new Class 700 trains, improved connections and upgraded stations.
The programme is also creating thousands of jobs across the country.
The government is investing record amounts building a world-class railway and the Thameslink Programme is a vital part of the long-term economic plan.
Following his visit to Three Bridges, the Transport Secretary also visited East Croydon to see first-hand the ongoing improvements at the station.
The Transport Secretary made these visits as the government published the terms of reference for the London-South Coast Rail Corridor Study, which will consider options for increasing capacity and relieving pressure on the Brighton Main Line (BML), which Thameslink services operate over.
The study, which was announced by the Chancellor in the summer Budget and will be carried out by the consultants WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff, will examine existing proposals for improvements. These include recommendations for investment in both the existing Brighton Main Line (BML) and for consideration of the ‘BML2’ concept, which would create a new rail link by reopening the Lewes-Uckfield line, along with other measures.
The findings of the study will help inform the government’s future investment decisions for the rail network between London and the south coast.