New trains for Moorgate services
Brand-new, air-conditioned, six-carriage, Class 717 trains are now beginning to operate on Great Northern services to and from Moorgate.
Over the coming months, passengers will gradually see all train services operating between Moorgate and Hertfordshire, to and from Welwyn Garden City, Hertford North and Stevenage operated by the new Class 717 fleet. We expect this process to complete later this year.
These new Class 717 trains have been custom-built for the route as part of a £240 million investment to entirely replace Great Northern’s oldest train fleet, the Class 313.
Passengers benefit from:
- Air conditioning for improved comfort on-board
- Connectivity with free Wi-Fi throughout* and power points at every pair of seats
- Space for approximately 100 extra passengers per train, because passenger numbers on Great Northern have more than doubled in 16 years and this will give you more space
- Wider doors, wide, open aisles and open, interconnected carriages (like a bendy bus) so that all passengers including those with accessibility needs can move easily throughout the entire train. The trains have been designed so that people can board and alight quickly, helping to keep trains running on time
- Two-by-two seating instead of unpopular three-by-two seating
- All trains are fixed at the maximum size of six carriages that can fit into platforms
- Each train has the latest accessibility features; including more visible grab handles and wheelchair spaces with clear markings on the carriage exteriors
- Live updates from London Underground available inside the train so passengers can plan onwards journeys (except between Drayton Park & Moorgate)
*Wi-Fi will be available on all services except when the train is underground between Drayton Park and Moorgate.
Frequently asked questions
How many trains will come into service?
25 new Class 717 trains formed of six carriages each are coming into service.
The Class 717 train shares a similar interior fit out to the Class 700 trains in use by Thameslink. The Class 717 is designed specifically for services to and from Moorgate and is the maximum size that the stations on the route can accommodate.
Will passengers need to be in the front five carriages at some stations?
Yes, due to short platforms, passengers travelling to or from the following stations on Class 717 Great Northern train services will need to travel in the front five carriages:
- Drayton Park
- Bowes Park
- Brookmans Park
Doors on the sixth carriage will not open at these stations. This is called Selective Door Operation.
Why are you using Selective Door Operation at these stations?
As passenger numbers are increasing, the Class 717 trains were built to the maximum possible size that can operate on routes to Moorgate.
Some platforms are slightly smaller than others such as at Drayton Park and while all six carriages will stop next to the platform, we will only open doors on the front five carriages. This is a very cautious approach to ensure that passengers can always board or leave the train.
When will they all come into service?
The trains are being gradually introduced. Services will be switched progressively from Class 313 to Class 717 operation and we expect this process to complete later this year.
How many people can each train accommodate?
There is space for over 940 people per train, which is about 100 more people per train than the current trains can hold.
When will Wi-Fi be available between Drayton Park & Moorgate?
We are looking at options to upgrade the telecoms infrastructure to support Wi-Fi in the future at sub-surface stations between Drayton Park & Moorgate.
Why has the introduction of the new trains taken so long?
Following thorough testing and double checking everything with our partners at Network Rail, ASLEF and Siemens, the new Class 717 fleet is ready for passenger service.
Why can’t you introduce more new trains faster?
When new trains are introduced they sometimes experience teething problems, we have taken steps to mitigate this as much as possible by undertaking extensive operational testing in Germany and the UK. We have completed over 1,700 hours of staff testing in the UK before the first train is to be introduced.
We will regularly review the reliability of the Class 717s and feedback from our engineers and passengers as we gradually introduce the new trains to address any issues that may arise as quickly as possible. Services will be switched progressively from Class 313 to Class 717 operation in the coming months and we expect this process to complete later this year.
Do you have enough trained drivers?
The trains are accessible but not all your stations where they are call are, is this being addressed?
We believe that everyone should be able to use our rail services and we do everything we can to achieve this on a network which dates back in places to the Victorian times.
We have submitted multiple bids for the government’s Access for All scheme for funding to achieve full accessibility at as many stations as possible across our network.
We always help our passengers reach the next nearest accessible station, and we have a dedicated travel assistance team in place to help. For more information please contact the assisted travel team:
Telephone 0800 058 2844
Textphone 0800 138 1018
Why are there no toilets on board?
Stations on the route have toilets so with rising passenger numbers, creating as much space as possible for passengers has been the priority.
Why aren’t there seatback tables?
Journey times are similar to that of London Underground’s Metropolitan Line and the Class 717 routes are primarily metro services, we have focused on customer benefits such as Wi-Fi and charging points.
Will there be luggage racks?
Yes there are overhead luggage racks on the trains.
What’s happening at Stevenage?
Network Rail is completing a major upgrade to Stevenage station and the track that connects Stevenage with Watton-at-Stone and destinations further south on the Hertford Loop. This upgrade involves the construction of a new fifth platform at Stevenage and the track, signalling and other infrastructure required to connect it to Watton-at-Stone.
This major upgrade will mean that Great Northern can run more trains per hour between Stevenage and Watton-at-Stone. This will mean better links with other destinations on the East Coast Main Line such as Cambridge and it will help to make train services more reliable.
While this work is completed, a rail replacement bus service is provided between Stevenage and Watton-at-Stone. Class 717s will call at Stevenage on weekends and we expect to resume weekday train services in the Summer 2020 timetable. You can find out more about the work at Stevenage here: www.greatnorthernrail.com/svgbus
What’s happening to the Class 313s?
We expect the final Class 717 to enter service later this year, the Class 313 trains are being returned to their owners, Eversholt Rail.