New trains now in passenger service on Braintree line

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

More Essex rail passengers can now experience modern rail travel as the roll-out of Greater Anglia’s brand-new state-of-the-art trains has extended to the Braintree to London Liverpool Street line.

Two of the train company’s brand-new electric commuter trains, made in the UK by Bombardier, entered passenger service on Wednesday 16 December coupled together as a ten-carriage train on the Braintree line.

They formed the 05.45 Shenfield to Braintree service and then made their first passenger trip into London Liverpool Street as the 06.40 service from Braintree, calling at Braintree Freeport, Cressing, White Notley, Witham, Hatfield Peverel, Chelmsford, Shenfield and Stratford.

Greater Anglia is getting 133 five-carriage Bombardier commuter trains which will mostly run to London Liverpool Street from Essex, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Ipswich.

The first two of these trains entered passenger service on the Southend Victoria line on Thursday 26 November.

The roll-out of Greater Anglia’s new Bombardier trains will continue on Great Eastern routes in Essex and to Ipswich next year and is expected to begin on the West Anglia route between Liverpool Street and Cambridge in the second half of 2021.

Bombardier train at Braintree

The new five-carriage Class 720 AVENTRA Bombardier trains, which can be used as five carriage trains or coupled together to form ten-carriage trains, are longer with more seats.

They have USB and plug points, fast free wifi, air conditioning, improved accessibility features including a disabled toilet on every train, better passenger information screens and dedicated cycle spaces.

The trains are the first in the UK to have underfloor heating which works with an overhead heating and ventilation system to improve passenger comfort and increase foot room for passengers sitting in window seats.

They feature regenerative braking which delivers energy back into the electrical supply network, rather than wasting the energy, through heat, as is the case with conventional systems.

Ian McConnell, Greater Anglia franchise and programmes director said: "Customers’ reactions to these new trains have been great and it’s brilliant to be rolling them out on more lines so that they can transform more of our customers’ journeys.

"All through the pandemic, our teams have been working hard to carry out safety and performance tests on these trains, in partnership with Bombardier.

"At the same time, we’ve been training our staff and getting stations ready for these new trains.

"We’re looking forward to making 2021 a really good year for our customers as more and more new trains come into passenger service across the whole of our network.

Matt Byrne, President UK & Ireland said: ‘It’s great news that Greater Anglia’s passengers on more routes can now travel on these cutting-edge, British-designed and -built AVENTRA trains.

"We are working really closely with Greater Anglia to ensure that the production, testing and delivery of the new trains is continuing despite the continuing impact of COVID-19.

"Higher capacity, more sustainable, and packed with features such as wifi, USB charging and underfloor heating, the new electric trains are playing an important part in helping transform journeys across the Greater Anglia network.’

'This is a service to Braintree' written on information screen in train

The trains have been procured and financed by Angel Trains. Angel Trains Chief Executive Officer, Malcolm Brown said: "The Class 720s entering service is a huge milestone and, as a leading investor in sustainable rolling stock, we’re proud to have supported Greater Anglia throughout this transformative project.

"Replacing the current suburban fleet, these state-of-the-art vehicles will go a long way towards enhancing the rail travel experience for passengers in Braintree and modernising UK rail."

Greater Anglia is replacing every single train on its network with brand new trains. The first new train – made by Swiss manufacturer Stadler – entered passenger service in July 2019 on the Norwich–Lowestoft route.

There are already new trains operating all services on the Norwich–London intercity route, Stansted Airport–London, Norwich–Cambridge/Stansted Airport, Lowestoft, Great Yarmouth and Sheringham, Ipswich–Cambridge, Peterborough, Felixstowe and Lowestoft, and Marks Tey–Sudbury routes.