Britain has unveiled a full-scale mock-up of the new electric Class 700 train that will transform rail travel into and across London, and generate thousands of new jobs.
The new trains will be operational in early 2016, and will run on the current Thameslink network between Bedford and Brighton and the Wimbledon Loop.
The trains will also be deployed across the Great Northern routes to Cambridge and Peterborough, the route to Sevenoaks through Elephant and Castle, and new destinations off the Brighton Main Line from 2017 as infrastructure work is completed.
The Thameslink franchise is being operated by First Capital Connect, which worked closely with the UK government to develop the new trains.
From 2018 the new trains will operate at high frequencies across central London with one arriving every two to three minutes between St Pancras and Blackfriars at peak times.
Designed specifically to meet the demands of the £6.5bn Thameslink Programme, the new energy efficient electric trains will provide 80% more peak seats across between Blackfriars and St Pancras, and with 30% more seats on all Thameslink north services that run fast from St Albans to London.
The new trains will also offer 15% more seats from stations along the line from Peterborough and Cambridge and over 60% more carriages into London Bridge.
UK Rail minister Stephen Hammond said: "Once operational they will provide a huge benefit to the hundreds of thousands of passengers who travel into London every day."
Siemens will build 1,140 new carriages. It anticipates that the build contract will create up to 2,000 new jobs across the UK supply chain in component manufacturing, assembly, construction of new depots and subsequent train maintenance.
Image: A new electric Class 700 train. Photo: courtesy of GOV.UK.