First Stadler train on the tracks for testing
The first one of Greater Anglia’s brand-new regional bi-mode trains, which are set to transform rail services in East Anglia, is now being tested in Switzerland.
At the same time, Greater Anglia’s brand new intercity and Stansted Express trains are being assembled in another factory nearby.
Swiss train manufacturer Stadler is making a total of 58 trains for Greater Anglia, including 38 “bi-mode” trains that can switch between electricity and diesel power, which will run on rural routes in Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire.
The first four-carriage bi-mode train to be assembled is now being tested at Stadler’s commissioning centre in in Erlen.
The train’s body is now connected to the wheels – known as the bogies. The driver’s cab is mounted and the diesel engines have been fitted.
Although the train is yet to be fitted with seats, wifi, toilets, and bicycle racks, it is possible to drive it and carry out safety and performance tests on it, to make sure all necessary standards are met.
Meanwhile, Stadler’s factory in Bussnang is full of Greater Anglia trains in various stages of production, including the welding of carriage bodyshells together and the installation of technical equipment, cabling and lighting.
Stadler is building 24 four-carriage and 14 three-carriage bi-mode trains, which from next year will run between Norwich and Sheringham, Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft and Cambridge; Ipswich and Felixstowe Lowestoft, Cambridge and Peterborough; and Marks Tey and Sudbury.
The company is also producing ten electric intercity trains and ten electric Stansted Express trains.
Mike Kean, Greater Anglia Director of Franchising and Programmes, said: “Seeing the first of our bi-mode trains on the tracks in Switzerland, it’s easy to imagine it speeding along our rural lines in East Anglia.
“These modern trains really are going to transform rail travel in East Anglia – with each one fitted with more seats, plug and USB points, air conditioning and fast free wifi.”
Ralf Warwel, Marketing Director of Stadler for UK said: “The bi-mode, Stansted Express and Intercity trains for East Anglia will improve the comfort for the passengers by offering spacious interiors and by allowing comfortable and fast access to the train by low floor level entrances. The gap to the platforms will be further reduced using a retractable step.
“These are powerful and comfortable trains which share many similar design and operational concepts as well as identical components which reduces training time for drivers and maintenance staff.
“The cab desk has a spacious and open design and allows for future upgrades of signalling systems, such as digital signaling.
“The bi-mode units are equipped with modern diesel engines which will not be used when operating on electrified lines, thereby reducing emissions and improving travel comfort.”
The new Stadler trains are financed by Rock Rail East Anglia, a joint venture between Rock Rail, Aberdeen Standard Investments and GLIL Infrastructure, and will be leased to Greater Anglia.
Greater Anglia is replacing every single train with brand new trains, which will all have more seats, plug and USB sockets, fast free wifi, air conditioning and disabled toilets.