by Susan van de Ven on 16 December, 2017
A message from our train operating company:
In May we introduced new Class 387/2 Electrostar trains to the Great Northern route with new standards in passenger accessibility and information. These trains have, for the first time on our route, air conditioning and free on-board Wi-Fi.
Since the trains’ introduction we have been working with our staff to find an effective way of splitting and joining units (eg to make two 4-carriage units into an 8-carriage train and vice versa), within the very short timescale allowed by the current timetable.
We have only six minutes to split or join a train at some locations, and to keep the interconnecting doors open requires a complicated process of locking and then opening four sets of facing doors on each facing train unit (a bit like an air lock on each) and also drivers setting up / closing down cabs and walking the length of the train.
Unfortunately, this sometimes delays the service which then delays other services across the Great Northern network.
From Sunday 10 December, we will therefore run all of these trains in the same way that we operate our class 365 fleet (and how our colleagues on Abellio Greater Anglia run their Class 387 Electrostar units), by not unlocking the interconnecting doors between each 4-carriage unit. This process will reduce the time it takes to split and join trains and help keep our trains running on time for the benefit of passengers.
There is a possibility that passengers on three southbound services in the morning may not board the correct part of the train to alight at the village stations of Foxton, Shepreth and Meldreth (which have short platforms). However, we understand that there are very few people making this journey and we will assist passengers by ensuring that clear announcements are made so that passengers board the right part of a train. Furthermore, this issue will disappear in May when we replace these trains with new, fixed formation 8-carriage Class 700s. These do not require splitting and joining and can be walked through end to end.
We expect this new arrangement with the Class 387s will only be a temporary measure. Our regular Great Northern passengers will be familiar with this method of operation, and we ask for their patience while will continue to work with colleagues to find a way of improving the attach / detach process.
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