What about the air conditioning on your trains?

Published on: Monday, 8 July 2019
Last updated: Monday, 8 July 2019

  • Your journey

When the temperature soars we get lots of questions about air conditioning on our trains. Here we've tried to answer all of your questions.

Why haven’t you got air conditioning on your trains?

We have got air conditioning on just over 40 per cent of our trains. Our newest trains, the Class 360s (which run into London Liverpool Street from Clacton, Colchester and Ipswich), Class 379s (the Stansted Express) and Class 170s (rural routes including Ipswich and Norwich to Cambridge and Ipswich to Peterborough) were built with air conditioning installed.

Air conditioning has been retro-fitted on our intercity trains (Norwich to London), and our refurbished Class 321s (Essex commuter routes including Southend to London Liverpool Street and Harwich to London).

Two thirds of our trains are about 30 years old, dating back to a time when air conditioning was not common in the UK. It’s one of the benefits of the new trains that we’re getting – they’re all being built with air conditioning included.

Why doesn’t the air conditioning work?

Most of the time the air conditioning on our trains is working.

If you’re on a train and the air con isn’t working, please report it by tweeting @greateranglia with the carriage number where you’re sitting. We’re trying to fix many air conditioning faults on the same day that they’re reported.

Why don’t you leave doors and windows open on trains that don’t have air conditioning?

We’re leaving doors and windows open on trains without air conditioning while they’re in depots. We have to close windows and doors to put the trains through the train wash. We can’t keep doors and windows open in stations and sidings, for security reasons – just as you wouldn’t keep your car doors and windows open unless it was parked in a secure place. Of course when these trains are in service, the windows can be opened for ventilation.

Why is the heating on on my train?

None of our trains are operating with the heating on during the summer. If you feel warm air coming out of the vents, then please report it on Twitter with your carriage number, as it is a sign that the air conditioning might not be working.

When the air conditioning fails, warm air from the train comes out of the vent, and we know this is uncomfortable, which is why we’re working hard to fix air conditioning as quickly as possible.

Why can’t you put on the air conditioning before the train goes into service so it’s nice and cool when I get on?

We’re doing our best to make sure that our trains are comfortable for our customers. Our drivers start up our trains over 15 minutes before they set off, after being parked overnight or during the day. We don’t want to run diesel engines or use excess energy by running trains for any longer when they are not in use.

What happens when I report an air conditioning fault?

As soon as a fault is reported we get our line of route technicians (mobile mechanics) to investigate and if they can they will fix it immediately. If they can’t fix it, the train is sent back to a depot to be fixed as soon as possible. Many faults are fixed on the day that they’re reported.

It’s so hot on the train – sometimes it seems hotter on the train than outside

Temperatures rise when you have a lot of people together in a small place and it’s hot outside. We’re trying to make your journeys as comfortable as possible. If you need a bottle of water, just ask someone at the station and we’ll give you one. We have water fountains for you to refill your reusable bottle at many of our stations including Cambridge, Chelmsford, Ipswich, Colchester, Wickford, Witham, Shenfield, Billericay, Bishop’s Stortford and Ely.

We publish a list of less busy trains on our website, so if you can be flexible about when you travel, you could consider travelling on a train with fewer people.

Other useful information

Check out our blog to see what we’ve been doing with Network Rail to see how the heat affects the railway and what we’re doing to keep it running.