Next year the existing trains on the North Downs route will be replaced by Class 769 units which are refurbished old Thameslink Units – that is why they may look familiar. These trains as part of their refurbishment are gaining Air Conditioning and Diesel Engines so they can operate Electrified (3rd Rail and 25Kv) and non-electrified routes. They are 4 cars long compared to 3 cars at present giving an increase in capacity.
Network Rail have also been looking at how to reduce carbon emissions from the railway. To achieve this they believe substantial more electrification is required, supplemented on shorter quieter routes by Hydrogen or Battery powered trains. Importantly the case for filling in gaps in the 3rd rail network by extending use of 3rd rail is being reconsidered. See link to Report Below
So might we see the gaps in the 3rd rail electrification filled in? It seems an ideal time to do it with trains in service that can accommodate the changes to electric power as electrification is completed.
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