Work Commences on £3 Million Upgrade to Greater Anglia's Local Train Fleet

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Greater Anglia has announced a £3 million upgrade to its fleet of local trains in Norfolk and Suffolk.

The train operator’s nine two-carriage Class 156 vehicles will receive 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. The vehicles will also be fitted with a universal access toilet.

Each unit will also receive 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 is being carried out by Railcare at their facility in Wolverton near Milton Keynes under contract to Porterbrook Leasing.

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

This additional work will include 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 will be improved through the train and new external door sounders will be fitted to provide an audible warning prior to the doors closing, and handrails replaced.

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

Therese Coffey MP for Suffolk Coastal whose constituency includes the Ipswich - Lowestoft East Suffolk Line, one of the routes on which the Class 156s are used, said :

"I'm delighted that passengers on the East Suffolk line will benefit from refurbished trains with a nicer travelling environment, better information provision and upgraded toilet facilities.  Coupled with the introduction of an hourly service on the route from December, it means passengers along this vitally important corridor are seeing major improvements to their train service over the coming months, which will also support the local economy, help local communities and make our region more accessible. I'm pleased to see Greater Anglia delivering on their commitments to enhance train services on the Ipswich to Lowestoft line."

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.