Thameslink bids farewell to final Class 319s

The last train at Brighton. Credit: GTR.
The last train at Brighton. Credit: GTR.

Thameslink have retired the last of the operating Class 319s almost 30 years after they first entered service.

On August 27, units 319217 and 319435 were coupled together as an eight-carriage service to make a final southbound journey, leaving Bedford at 15:06 for Brighton before arriving back at 20:59.

Class 319 trains were introduced in 1988 and designed to operate using overhead power lines north of London and the electric third rail to the south.

They have been retired to the Long Marston storage facility and replaced with Class 700 trains.

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Class 700 at Blackfriars. Credit: GTR.
Class 700 at Blackfriars. Credit: GTR.

Govia Thameslink Railway, which operates the Thameslink service, engineering director Gerry McFadden said: “Our new Class 700 trains are a vital part of the government-sponsored Thameslink programme which will help deliver greater capacity as we modernise the railway to meet the massive growth in passenger numbers.

“Now the 319s have gone it allows us to transform our depot at Bedford from a maintenance facility for 4-carriage units into a stabling and servicing facility for 12-carriage Class 700s.

“This will allow us to introduce even more longer Class 700 trains to the Bedford to Brighton route.”

In September, Thameslink’s remaining Class 377 trains will be withdrawn, creating a Class 700-only fleet on the Thameslink route.