Brand new intercity on maiden voyage into London
One of Greater Anglia’s brand-new intercity trains has successfully completed a daylight test run between Norwich and Liverpool Street.
Technicians on board the 12-carriage electric train, built by Swiss company Stadler, were checking the train’s energy consumption levels, by putting the train through its paces at different speeds and braking levels.
Once the train arrived at Liverpool Street, station staff were given some training on board and had a look round it.
Staff were shown the train’s retractable step which closes the gap between the platform and the train.
Combined with the train’s lower level floor, the step makes it easier for customers with wheelchairs, buggies or mobility issues to get onto the train.
Ian McConnell, Greater Anglia franchise and programme director, said: “It was quite a sight, our brand new intercity making its way from Norwich to Liverpool Street and then to sit opposite one of our old intercity trains at Liverpool Street was such a contrast between old and new.
“We are very much looking forward to bringing our new trains into passenger service because we know they will transform our customers’ journeys.”
Martino Celeghini, project manager for Stadler, added: “This trip made during daylight hours is yet another small, but significant step, bringing us ever closer to passenger roll-out of the new fleet.
"We are now in the final stages of testing and feel confident that customers will share our enthusiasm for these state-of-the-art trains, which are on the cusp of being introduced on to the network.”
The new intercity trains are longer than the existing intercity trains – 12 carriages of seats as opposed to nine on the existing trains.
They have electric push-button doors – double width in the middle of each carriage - which are easier for customers to open once they have been unlocked and speed up the train’s departure from stations as they driver can close them all automatically.
Other features on board the train are plug and USB sockets, free wifi, air conditioning, a café bar, a large accessible area, accessible toilet, dedicated area for bikes and passenger information screens.
Greater Anglia has ordered ten new intercity trains from Stadler. Three of them are now in East Anglia. The first is due to come into passenger service this autumn.
The train is the same model as the ten new Stansted Express trains, but the interiors are different. Only the intercity trains will have a First Class seating area and a café bar.
Meanwhile the company’s new bi-mode trains, powered by diesel or electricity, continue to be tested on Greater Anglia’s network, with drivers completing their training on them on rural routes including Norwich to Lowestoft.
The Office for Rail and Road has now signed off both the bi-mode and electric trains for passenger service, subject to further performance and safety tests that Greater Anglia is conducting.