New train on maiden voyage on West Anglia route

One of Greater Anglia’s brand new electric trains has carried out its first successful test run between Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport.

The 12-carriage train was put through its paces overnight when it made its maiden voyage on Greater Anglia’s West Anglia route.

It started at Liverpool Street, went to Stansted Airport and then on to Cambridge and back to London via Tottenham Hale.

Swiss manufacturer Stadler is making 20 electric trains for Greater Anglia – ten will be fitted out for the intercity route between Norwich and London and the other ten are for the Stansted Express service between London and Stansted Airport.

They are also making 38 bi-mode trains which run on diesel and electricity, for Greater Anglia’s regional routes currently served by diesel trains.

Before new trains can go into passenger service, they must pass a series of safety and performance tests.

The test on Friday night checked how the train interacts with signals and monitored the train’s Automatic Warning System, which tells a driver of a signal displayed ahead.

Other tests carried out on new trains include testing performance at different speeds on the network and checking the train’s equipment, such as the pantograph – which connects the train to the overhead wire to get power, passenger information system, doors and numerous other on-board systems.

“Route proving” tests– checking the train works correctly at every station and platform where it will be stopping are also part of the test schedule.

The trains have to rack up between 1500 to 2500 miles of “fault-free running” to make sure that every train is reliable before they go into passenger service.

Ian McConnell, Greater Anglia franchise and programme director, said: “It’s great to have reached another milestone in our ambitious programme to replace all of our old trains with brand new trains.

“The first of our bi-mode trains are now in service on regional routes between Norwich, Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft and Cambridge and passengers are giving us really good feedback about them.

“We can’t wait to get these electric trains into passenger service – but there’s a bit more testing to do before then.”

Leandro Haggenmacher, engineering project manager for Stadler, added: “With bi-modes steadily being introduced on to rural lines, we are pleased that the electric trains are getting ever closer to roll-out, as well. The rail routes that these trains will run on are integral to the transport system that supports the London and south east economy, and are we are proud to be playing a crucial role within that.”

Greater Anglia is replacing every single train with brand new trains which are all longer, with more seats, fast free wifi, plug and USB sockets, better passenger information screens and improved accessibility features.

They are some of the first trains in the UK to be financed with long-term investment from pension funds and insurance companies through Rock Rail East Anglia, a joint venture between Rock Rail, Aberdeen Standard Investments and GLIL Infrastructure.