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Thameslink’s old train fleet takes one last ride

Thameslink, operated by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) between Bedford, Brighton, Wimbledon, Sutton and Sevenoaks, has reached a major milestone in its transformation of the railway by replacing the last of the 29-year-old Class 319 train fleet with modern Class 700 trains.

On Sunday 27 August, units 319217 and 319435 were coupled together as an eight carriage service to make the final southbound journey. The train left Bedford on time at 15.06 with a salute from the drivers and a blast on the horn as the train left the station with a small commemorative headboard fitted to the front.

Greeted by a crowd of enthusiasts at Brighton, the same train then left the seaside resort full and standing at 18.14 as passengers, enthusiasts and staff alike travelled on its last-ever Thameslink journey. The train arrived at Bedford on time, at 20.59.

The Class 319 train was introduced in 1988 when the cross-London Thameslink route was reopened to passenger traffic, creating a new route between Bedford and Brighton. It was designed to operate using both the overhead power lines north of London and the electric third rail to the south.