First Greater Anglia FLIRT arrives at Norwich

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15th November 2018

The first of Greater Anglia's brand new train fleet has arrived at Norwich today. The four-carriage bi-mode train, destined for work on regional lines around the Greater Anglia network will now undergo testing on the network.

Technicians at manufacturer Stadler have already carried out an extensive range of tests on the train, including testing brakes, pantographs, noise levels, emissions, operational safety, automatic train protection systems and testing on special curved tracks against derailment. Now the train is required to be tested on the Greater Anglia network to makes sure it passes strict regulations to allow it to carry passengers in the UK.

Drivers will also now be able to start classroom based training which includes sessions in all new dedicated multi-million pound simulators, before moving on to driving the real thing in an intensive training regime.

Greater Anglia are to receive 38 bi-mode trains from Stadler – 24 four-carriage and 14 three-carriage trains - which can switch between diesel and electric power, allowing them to traverse the Greater Anglia network unhindered. They will run between Norwich and Cambridge, Sheringham, Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth; Ipswich and Cambridge, Lowestoft, Felixstowe and Peterborough; and Marks Tey and Sudbury. The company is also getting ten Intercity and ten Stansted Express trains from Stadler.

A further 111 'Aventra' trains have been ordered from Bombardier in Derby and will provide Intercity services from Essex, Ipswich, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire into London Liverpool Street. All trains will have plug and USB sockets, fast free wifi, air conditioning, accessible toilets, wheelchair spaces and bicycle spaces. It is anticipated that all new trains will be in service by the end of 2020.

Ian McConnell, Greater Anglia Franchising and Programmes Director said:

“It’s so exciting to see one of our new trains here in East Anglia. I’m sure people will be impressed when they see it – it is very different to our existing trains.

“People will be able to see for themselves that we really are transforming the railway in East Anglia.

“Over the next few weeks, we’ll be taking delivery of more of these trains so customers will see them around and about our stations. I’m afraid they’re not in service yet – we need to carry out lots of tests to make sure they complete all of our standards for safety and performance before passengers can use them.”

Ralf Warwel, UK sales director at Stadler, said:

“The arrival of the first Greater Anglia train on British soil is a highly symbolic moment, both for the project and for the Stadler business. We’ve made no secret of the fact that we are keen to make headway in the UK market. This order placed two years ago was our first major contract for passenger trains, paving the way for subsequent orders with Strathclyde Partnership for Transport, Merseytravel, and most recently, for Wales & Borders.

“These new trains, all of which are FLIRTs, one of Stadler’s most popular and versatile products. They rely on state-of-the-art, environmentally-friendly technology and feature low floor and level boarding, vastly improving the customer experience. We are delighted to have reached this significant point in the project, which brings the trains one step closer to passenger roll-out next year.”

Author: Darren Porter
Image: Greater Anglia