Published on: Monday, 24 July 2023
Last updated: Monday, 24 July 2023
As part of Greater Anglia’s £1.4 billion fleet replacement programme, Colchester depot has now been upgraded with new train servicing facilities, that enable it to be used to help maintain the operator’s new bi-mode trains.
Two huge 40,000-litre fuel tanks, a 14-tonne sanding storage tower, a 10,000-litre AdBlue storage tank and a sand dispenser were all installed as part of the upgrade, along with new toilet emptying equipment.
New fuel and toilet water system pumps, along with new walkways, have also been put in place as part of the improvements.
The new equipment at the depot allows ten trains a day to be serviced at the Colchester site.
Eight ‘class 755’ bi-mode trains will be cleaned, refuelled, have screen wash topped up, toilets emptied and water refilled.
Sanding equipment can also be topped up. Sand is used by all of the Greater Anglia fleet to make the brakes even more effective in slippery conditions by giving the trains extra grip.
Trains at Colchester depot. Credit: Greater Anglia
Previously, seven trains a day used to go to temporary fuelling facilities either within Colchester station or to Ipswich or, in some cases even as far as Norwich’s Crown Point depot when refilling of the specialist sanding equipment on-board was needed – all of which took extra time and used extra electricity and energy.
With the new facilities in place, those extra journeys are unnecessary, thereby also providing additional flexibility in service operations and increased resilience in service provision.
Two ‘class 720’ electric commuter trains will also have their toilets emptied using the new equipment, along with a wash and clean, before going out into service the next day.
Andrew Goodrum, Greater Anglia’s client and programme director, said:
“The new facilities and equipment mean fewer miles will be run by our trains overnight after passenger service, as they can now be fuelled, cleaned and prepared ready for the following day at the Colchester depot.
“Our teams have worked tirelessly to bring this equipment into use and it will be great to see the positive difference these servicing facilities have on improving the travelling experience for our customers.”
The upgrade is part of Greater Anglia’s £1.4 billion investment in transforming train services in East Anglia, which have seen it improve infrastructure across its network, including new carriage washing machines and platform extensions, as well as introducing a complete fleet of new trains.
The company has introduced 38 new regional bi-mode trains that primarily operate local services across Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and on the Marks Tey to Sudbury branch.
Ten new intercity electric trains were introduced on services running between Norwich, Ipswich, Colchester and London, with a further 10 new electric trains operating Stansted Express services between the capital and the airport.
A total of 107 of the new class 720 suburban trains are now in service, operating Greater Anglia’s commuter and local services in Essex and Hertfordshire, along with services between London Liverpool Street and Cambridge and stopping services between London Liverpool Street and Ipswich.
As a result, all Greater Anglia services are now operated with new trains.
The trains have a number of benefits to passengers, including more seats, plug and USB points, enhanced performance characteristics and better accessibility arrangements. Their better reliability has already helped increase Greater Anglia’s overall punctuality and reliability standards to record levels.