UK-based train operator Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has signed contracts with Siemens to acquire 150 carriages for £240m as part of a plan to replace its ageing fleet of electric trains.
Under the terms of the contract, the company will buy the 25 Siemens Class 717 trains with six carriages and 362 seats.
These trains will operate on the Great Northern routes between Moorgate and Hertfordshire, to and from Stevenage, Hertford North and Welwyn Garden City.
Rail Minister Andrew Jones said: “The arrival of the brand new Class 717 fleet, replacing some of the UK’s oldest trains and delivering more seats and space, complete with Wi-Fi and air-conditioning, is fantastic news for passengers.
“With the number of journeys on our railways having more than doubled in the past 20 years, we are focused on introducing new trains right across the UK, delivering significant improvements in performance, punctuality and capacity.”
The new 717 trains can accommodate more than 940 passengers, which is almost 100 more commuters per journey than the old trains.
Additional features of the trains include plug sockets at every pair of seats, more visible grab handles and wheelchair spaces.
Capable of running at speeds up to 100mph, the trains will offer live service updates from the London Underground.
They are equipped with a ‘snow mode’ technology, which changes the way the brakes work to enhance reliability in snowy conditions.
Financed by Rock Rail Moorgate, a joint venture (JV) between Rock Rail and Aberdeen Standard Investments, the new trains will be leased to GTR.