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Published on : Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Wallets, mobiles phones, umbrellas, false teeth and even a new kitchen sink… Thameslink’s railway cleaners find all kinds of leftovers when trains pull into their sidings for a break.They are being helped on their way by the government-sponsored Thameslink Programme, with the opening of a new £40m railway facility in Cricklewood, north London.
The new yard, which also features a drive-through train wash, is already cleaning trains on the busy Thameslink route between Bedford, London and Brighton. It will also be used by Thameslink’s new Class 700 trains when they are introduced this spring, and will play a vital part in running the programme’s new intensive train service.
Network Rail’s Thameslink Programme director Simon Blanchflower said: “Everything the Thameslink Programme does is about improving journeys for passengers and this new facility will make a real difference.
“We have turned a disused piece of railway land into a first-class railway facility that will play a crucial part in what will be one of the country’s most intensive main line train services.”
The huge facility, which can accommodate 22 trains at a time, was constructed by contractors Carillion with site operator Thameslink and Network Rail, on the site of disused rail lines not far from the existing depot. They include a new train wash, toilet emptying facilities and walkways for staff to remove rubbish from trains.
In fact, when the Thameslink Programme introduces a 24 trains pehour service from Blackfriars to St Pancras International in 2018, it is expected that staff at the Cricklewood sidings will remove one tonne of rubbish from trains every day.
Keith Wallace, Projects Director at Govia Thameslink Railway, said: “These sidings are a crucial part of our plans to modernise Thameslink services to give our passengers new, spacious trains starting this spring and, from 2018, more frequent services at all our stations between Bedford and London.
“The facility is state-of-the-art and a credit to Network Rail and the Thameslink Programme team. Our 26 staff on site are already using them to keep trains clean.”MP for Hendon Matthew Offord, who opened the sidings on Friday, said: “I am delighted that the Government’s sponsorship of the Thameslink Programme is contributing to this new facility at Cricklewood. When completed, this investment will provide a much-needed modern and efficient train service for all users of the Thameslink line including my constituents in Edgware, Hendon and Mill Hill.”
The Class 700 trains, being built by Siemens, will run an intensive service to and through London from locations such as Bedford, Peterborough and Cambridge in the north and Brighton and Gatwick in the south, offering new standards of spaciousness, reliability and passenger information.The location of the sidings in Cricklewood means that trains will be able to visit the sidings around the clock to keep them looking their best.