One of Greater Anglia’s brand-new intercity trains has now entered passenger service between Norwich and London Liverpool Street.
The brand new 12 carriage electric train, built by Swiss company Stadler, left Norwich at 7.40am on Wednesday 8 January, calling at Diss, Ipswich and London Liverpool Street.
It then returned from Liverpool Street at 10.00am, calling at Colchester, Manningtree, Ipswich, Diss and Norwich – the first time Greater Anglia’s new trains have been in passenger service calling at stations in Essex.
Ian McConnell, Greater Anglia franchise and programme director, said: “We’re very pleased to have brought one of our new intercity trains into passenger service.
“Last month was difficult for our customers, as signalling issues on our rural branch lines caused a great deal of disruption and also set back our new trains roll-out.
“We are making every effort to improve our service – and the first longer intercity train in service with all the facilities customers expected will start to make a difference to our intercity customers.
“This week we also ran one of our new bi-mode trains, which run on electricity and diesel, on the Ipswich-Peterborough route, where disruption has continued for much longer as a knock-on effect of the signalling issues.
“This year, we will concentrate on getting more new trains into passenger service and making sure they are as reliable as possible.”
The new intercity trains have 757 seats, which is between 23 and 41 per cent more than on the trains they replace. They will all be in passenger service by this Easter.
They have plug and USB sockets, free fast wifi, air conditioning and improved passenger information screens. There is also a First Class seating area and a café bar service.
Just as on Greater Anglia’s new bi-mode trains which are replacing all of the company’s diesel trains, the new intercity trains have gold standard accessibility features including a lower floor and a retractable step at every door to bridge the gap between the train and platform.
They have electric push-button doors – double width in the middle of each carriage – which are easier for customers to open once they have been unlocked and speed up the train’s departure from stations as they driver can close them all automatically.
Martino Celeghini, technical project manager at Stadler, said: “The roll-out of the intercitys represents a key moment in the overall introduction of the two new Stadler fleets. These trains, which will run into London are built to exceptionally high standards.
“They will vastly improve rail travel in East Anglia, supporting business and helping boost economic growth. They will be transformational for the travelling public in the region.”
The intercity trains are part of a £600m investment in new Stadler trains for the region which have been financed by Rock Rail East Anglia and will be leased to Greater Anglia for the life of the franchise.