'No decision' on Thameslink rolling stock

THE Department for Transport has denied reports that government budget cutbacks have led to the cancellation of the order for new Thameslink rolling stock.

The BBC Radio 4 consumer programme 'You and Yours' had confused the Thameslink order with a ganeral statement about rolling stock in the High Level Output Specification, said a DfT spokesman.

The Department has already announced that HLOS-related orders which had not been confirmed with a signed contract would be cancelled in the current financial year, but the major rolling stock orders for the replacement Thameslink fleet, as well as the new trains for Crossrail, are not included in the present HLOS totals.

A spokesman for the DfT would only add that the new government was considering the implications of all transport policy, and that no decision had yet been made about Thameslink.

Work is currently underway on extending many Thameslink route platforms for 12-car trains as well as upgrading the line through central London, with major worksites at Farringdon and Blackfriars, but these improvements are being financed by Network Rail.

The order for a new Thameslink fleet, which would be worth more than £1 billion, had been deferred until the autumn by the previous government.

New trains for the route would be essential if the present fleet of Class 319 units is to be cascaded to the Great Western Main Line and several key routes in the north west, which are to be electrified. Electrification is also being financed by Network Rail, and has not been said to be at risk from the DfT spending cutbacks.

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