Upgrade for Intercity carriages on Norwich to London mainline route over 50% complete
The £12 million upgrade programme for Abellio Greater Anglia's intercity Mk III carriages has now passed the halfway stage, with 61 of the 118 carriages involved now upgraded and back in service on the Norwich - Ipswich - Colchester - London route (the Great Eastern Main Line or GEML).
The significant refresh sees all of the train operator's Mk III fleet being enhanced, with improvements throughout for both First Class and Standard carriages, including plug points; new LED lighting; new carpets; new tables; new seat covers; upgraded, environmentally-friendly, controlled emission toilets with new floors and new taps; and the re-painting of both carriage interior saloons and the vestibule panels, walls and ceilings. Exterior painting of all carriages is also being undertaken as part of a separate programme already underway.
The work is being carried out at Abellio Greater Anglia's Crown Point Depot in Norwich by the company's partner for the project Vossloh Kiepe, with the programme on schedule for completion by the end of the train operator's current short franchise in October 2016. A number of carriages will also be modified to enable more standard seats to be provided - over 2,500 a day or over 600,000 a year.
Feedback from customers along the route has been positive, with particular praise for the installation of plug points and the brighter lighting. Upgrading the intercity train fleet benefits not just rail customers, but the wider regional economy and it is intended that this project should be the start of a decade-long programme of improvements on this important rail artery, with further upgrades to the intercity train fleet hoped for as part of the new franchise due to be awarded in June and commencing in October.
Jamie Burles, Abellio Greater Anglia's Managing Director said: "We are pleased to pass this important milestone with more than half of our intercity carriages now upgraded. This £12 million programme illustrates our commitment to raise service standards on the Norwich to London mainline route. We are determined to provide customers and communities across our network with higher quality services and this project is a major part of a wider investment of over £40 million in customer-focused improvements throughout our current short franchise, which runs from July 2014 to October 2016.”