What’s happened to all your trains since I’ve been away?

Published on: Friday, 3 September 2021
Last updated: Monday, 12 December 2022

  • Your journey

If you’ve not travelled with us since the start of the pandemic, you’ll notice some differences which will make your journey even better.

We’ve got new trains

Last year, during the pandemic, we carried on introducing brand new longer trains across our network. We now have a total of 83 new trains which we can use for passenger service – and a further 104 to come. Eleven of our routes are now exclusively served by new trains.

Routes exclusively served by new trains Route details
Intercity Between Norwich, Diss, Stowmarket, Ipswich, Manningtree, Colchester, Chelmsford, Stratford and London Liverpool Street
All regional/rural routes Norwich to Lowestoft, Great Yarmouth, Sheringham and Cambridge/Stansted Airport; Ipswich to Felixstowe, Lowestoft, Cambridge and Peterborough; Marks Tey to Sudbury
Stansted Express airport service London to Stansted Airport

We’ve also started running new trains between Southend Victoria, Southminster, Braintree, Colchester Town, Clacton, Cambridge and Hertford East and London Liverpool Street.

What’s so great about your new trains?

All of our new trains are longer with more seats and all of the features travellers expect nowadays – plug and USB sockets so you can charge up your devices on your journey, free fast wifi and climate control – air conditioning to keep you cool in the summer and heating to keep you warm in the winter.

Old commuter train above and new one below

Top half shows interior of old trains and below the new ones

Each new train has much better accessibility features, with accessible toilets and wheelchair areas on every single train. There are two wheelchair spaces on our regional trains and each five-carriage commuter train. Our intercity trains have three wheelchair spaces and when there are two five-carriage commuter trains coupled together to operate as a ten-carriage train there are four wheelchair spaces and two accessible toilets. There is also plenty of priority seating for customers who need a bit more space on each new train. Our Swiss-built new trains – the intercity, regional and Stansted Express services – all have a low-level floor and a sliding step at every door which bridges the gap between the train and the platform, making it easier to board with a wheelchair, buggy or luggage.

You’ll notice that there’s much better passenger information on board, with clear information screens in every carriage, which give journey details and show where the nearest toilet is and whether it’s vacant. Since this is computerised, we’ll be able to improve it further as software updates add extra features such as showing seat availability throughout the train and linking with customer information screens on platforms.

There are also dedicated bike spaces on every single train – no more having to leave your bike in the vestibule. There are six full size bike spaces on our intercity, regional and Stansted Express trains and four spaces per set of five carriages on our new commuter trains. Remember to reserve your bike space if you’re taking a full-size bike on an intercity train. There’s no limit on the number of folding bikes nor any need to make a reservation.

What are the seats like?

The seats on our new trains were designed especially for us – they weren’t fitted on any other trains in the UK before ours. We worked to make them as comfortable as possible, with the maximum amount padding allowed and lumbar support. The seats on our new commuter trains have a special “S”-shaped back to maximum leg room for the person sitting behind. They all have headrests to make your journey more comfortable.

There are more seats as well – in some cases up to 300, depending on the route and how many carriages the train has.

Old trains Number of seats New trains Number of seats
One and two carriage diesel regional trains 72 - 146 Three and four carriage bimode regional trains 167 - 229
Nine carriage intercity 614 12 carriage intercity 757
Four carriage electric commuter trains (used in formations of four, eight and 12 carriages) 226 - 308 Five carriage (used in formations of five and ten carriages) 544

First class seating on old trains replaced by more standard seats on new train

First Class seating is now only available on our intercity service. We were able to add extra seats by discontinuing First Class on some services – and customers told us having a seat was one of the most important things to them when travelling with us.

Old intercity train above and new intercity below

The new trains are greener too

Did you know that rail travel is one of the most sustainable forms of transport? Only cycling and walking are better for the environment. Our new trains have many green features. Our regional bimode trains switch to electric power when running on an electric line – and when they are running on diesel they can use cleaner fuel and create less pollution and noise. Even in diesel mode, they can brake electrically using a “brake resistor” which cuts down on the use of brake pads and the dust they create. When running on diesel, the engines generate electricity for the motors so that the trains can accelerate more powerfully.

All our new trains generate electricity as they brake – with our Swiss-built electric trains able to create more electricity when braking than they use while accelerating. The new trains are lighter and more aerodynamic which improves efficiency when travelling at high speeds.

One of the old trains on the top half and below one of the new ones

One full new intercity train takes approximately 494 cars off the road per journey, while a full four-carriage bi-mode removes about 152 cars and a full three-carriage bimode removes around 111. If you want to see how to cut your carbon by taking one of our trains, put your journey into the new carbon calculator (Carbon Calculator | Greater Anglia ) on our website.

What’s the catch? Your prices must be going up with all these new trains?

We’ve got a large range of great value fares available, with many discount tickets to keep your travel costs down – especially if you plan and book in advance. We’ve recently started selling flexi season tickets for commuters returning to the office for only part of the week. 98p out of every £1 spent on rail fares go straight back into the railway and we’re always investing in making your experience with us better. We’ve written a blog Travel for less this summer | Greater Anglia to help you get the best value fare available.

Keeping you safe

We’ve stepped up cleaning and sanitising of our trains and stations since the pandemic, concentrating on high touch areas. We’ve got in extra cleaners and powerful equipment to zap away germs. We carry out regular testing to make sure the sanitisation is working – even carrying out regular tests for Covid on our trains which have all come back negative. We were really pleased with how many customers have been wearing face coverings – and thank you for continuing to do so on busy trains and stations, as the Government advises and recommends us all to do. One of the advantages of our new trains is that you can spread out further, so please use the full length of the trains and platforms so everyone can travel comfortably and safely. If you want to travel on a train with fewer passengers, we’ve improved the less busy train tool on our website so you can see at a glance station by station which train is busiest on peak services to and from London Liverpool Street.