Thameslink's Three Bridges depot has opened and is set to begin maintaining Britain's modern Class 700 fleet. Around £300 million has been invested in Three Bridges and another brand new depot in Hornsey, both built by VolkerFitzpatrick, which will maintain GTR's new 12 and eight-car trains. The facility in Crawley, West Sussex, was opened by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin on October 15. Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: "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 depot includes an automatic inspection facility which uses lasers to measure and predict when components need to be maintained and renewed. Driver training will also be carried out in the depot's purpose-built simulator.The first Class 700 train arrived at Three Bridges in the early hours of July 31. Testing is underway, ready for the start of passenger service in spring 2016. The new trains, combined with the redevelopment of London Bridge and an upgraded signalling system, will allow operator GTR to run 24 trains an hour on the Thameslink route through central London by the end of 2018.
In July 2016, Hornsey will also be complete, marking another milestone in the creation of the £6.5 billion project's support network.