22 FEBRUARY 2016
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Our rail expert, Andrew Sharp formerly of IARO (International Air Rail Organisation), reports that one of the 27 new trains being built for Gatwick Express is now running occasional trips in passenger service, on Thameslink, which as he says, is a bit odd. They are supposed to start to enter service on Gatwick Express from the end of February.
The external red livery of the Bombardier class 387/2 trains is distinctive, although internally there appears to be little difference to existing trains on Southern and Thameslink. The railway press has reported that there would be ‘easier boarding’: there was no sign of this from cursory inspection. Certainly it would be difficult to provide anything as good as the level boarding (platforms and train floors on the same level) which you find on Heathrow Express.
There is limited luggage stack space – there are stacks, but not in every car – and on the test train, there appeared to be no First Class accommodation. Both of these seem like mistakes on an airport express. That said, while one can now use an Oyster Card on Gatwick Express, it is not obvious how one uses it to travel First Class – the problem may have been side-stepped! www.gatwickexpress.com
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