Bombardier Transportation Class 387/2 EMU for Gatwick Express services.

UK: Static testing of the first of the Class 387/2 Electrostar electric multiple-unit cars ordered for Gatwick Express services has begun at Bombardier Transportation’s Derby plant.

The 27 four-car Class 387/2 EMUs are scheduled to enter service between London Victoria station and Gatwick airport in 2016, replacing 1980s-built Class 442 EMUs which have been used on the route since 2008.

The £145·2m order for the Class 387/2 EMUs was signed by franchisee Govia Thameslink Railway in November 2014, financed by Porterbrook Leasing.

They are based on the Class 387/1 EMUs ordered for interim use on Thameslink branded services, but customised to provide additional luggage space and ‘easier boarding’ for airport passengers. They will have 2+2 seating, at-seat power points, wi-fi, Liebherr-Transportation Systems air-conditioning and automated passenger information.

The start of testing ‘is a key milestone in the journey to brand new trains for Gatwick Express’, according to Angie Doll, Passenger Service Director for Gatwick Express. ‘The benefits our passengers will receive will also be felt by those travelling from Brighton, as in the off-peak some of these trains will be extended to this station.’

  • On July 26 Govia’s South Central franchise, which includes Southern and Gatwick Express branded services, will be merged into the Thameslink, Southern & Great Northern franchise which was launched in September 2014 and is held by Govia Thameslink Railway. This will make TSGN the largest UK franchise in terms of passenger numbers, train services, revenue and staff, with about 273 million passenger-journeys/year, passenger revenues of £1·3bn/year and 6 500 staff.