Longer trains are coming to Uckfield. Extra carriages are being promised by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) who take over the franchise in July 2015.
The company says it will be deploying 12 additional carriages of Class 170 diesel trains.
Southern has been unable to lengthen trains on this busy route because no additional diesel trains were available to lease.
Now that GTR has secured these extra trains it will be possible to lengthen more services to their current maximum length of eight carriages once the new trains have been brought in and overhauled.
GTR is working with Network Rail to ensure that platforms are extended at the earliest opportunity at Uckfield, Buxted, Crowborough, Eridge, Ashurst, Cowden, Hever and Edenbridge Town so that services can then be lengthened still further, to 10 carriages.
Charles Horton, Chief Executive Officer for GTR said: “The Uckfield line has seen phenomenal growth in the past decade as a result of the introduction of modern trains and improved services.
“GTR is really pleased to announce this deal to bring in additional carriages, which, once overhauled, will begin to give people along this route the service the extra capacity they have been calling for.”
Eversholt Rail Ltd owns the trains. GTR will take delivery of them in spring 2015.
Network Rail’s strategic business plan shows completion of the longer platforms by December 2016 but is working with GTR to bring this forward.
Until then, eight carriage trains will continue to use selective door opening technology to serve stations with shorter platforms. Ten-carriage trains cannot stop at these stations because, in certain formations, there would be no access from the rear train unit to the platform.