Newly refurbished Class 156 train re-enters service

Monday, 3 December 2012

The first of Greater Anglia’s Class 156 local train fleet has returned to service after undergoing extensive refurbishment and upgrade works.

The train operator’s nine two-carriage Class 156 vehicles which comprise the local train fleet in Norfolk and Suffolk are receiving a £3 million upgrade.

Guy Dangerfield of Passenger Focus will formally launch the first completed Class 156 unit at 11.15am on Tuesday 4th December at Norwich station.

The new unit, 156 402, has received a complete interior overhaul, including new carpets, dado panels, seat covers and a deep clean as well as the installation of a new passenger information system which will deliver automatic announcements as part of a £3 million upgrade to the local train fleet.

The vehicle has also been fitted with a universal access toilet and received a brand new coat of paint in the company’s red and white livery.

Work on the upgrade commenced earlier this month, with the first unit due to be completed and returned to service at the end of November. The entire refurbishment programme will continue until late 2013.

The work was carried out by Railcare at their facility in Wolverton near Milton Keynes under contract to Porterbrook Leasing.

As part of the overhaul, additional work was carried out to make the Class 156 fleet compliant with future changes to the regulations for passengers of reduced mobility.

This additional work included a revised seating layout to provide priority seats; two wheelchair spaces with “call for aid” buttons; a new universal toilet ensuring adequate wheelchair access also fitted with a “call for aid” button, and a passenger information system (PIS). Access has been improved through the train and new external door sounders have been fitted to provide an audible warning prior to the doors closing, and handrails replaced.

The accessible toilet module is manufactured by Phenolic Ltd and provides full access to wheelchair users and those with reduced mobility when travelling on this type of train.

Guy Dangerfield of Passenger Focus, said, "Passengers will really notice the improvement when they get on the refurbished train.  As well as the new carpets, fresh paint and wheelchair accessible toilet, installing a passenger information system will help make sure passengers get timely and accurate information during their journey."

Greater Anglia’s Customer Service Director, Andrew Goodrum, said, “Greater Anglia’s £3 million refurbishment programme is bringing our Class 156 trains up to date and offering much improved accessibility and comfort which is extremely important in making rail travel an attractive and easy option for local journeys in Norfolk and Suffolk.”

The Class 156 units are in operation on several routes across the Greater Anglia network including the Marks Tey -Sudbury, Ipswich - Cambridge, Ipswich - Lowestoft, Norwich - Great Yarmouth and Norwich – Sheringham lines.