A giant animatronic red hare and a steel band were the star attractions as Greater Anglia launched their brand-new trains on 4 September.
The ‘transforming the railway’ celebration saw VIP guests from the local community taking a journey on one of the new Stadler Class 755 bi-modal trains which are due to replace the existing diesel trains on rural routes.
“Our customers are telling us they think our new trains are amazing. We promised new trains would improve their journeys and that’s exactly what they are doing.”
Rail Minister, Chris Heaton-Harris, too lauded the arrival of the new trains and reaffirmed the Government’s pledge to prioritise a passenger-focused railway which sees trains running on time.
Greater Anglia put the first four-carriage Class 755 into service on 29 July, running on the Wherry Line between Norwich, Great Yarmouth, and Lowestoft. Other new trains have since come into service on the Norwich to Cambridge route.
Running across a range of rural routes in the East Anglia region, 38 bi-mode trains, which are powered by diesel and electricity, have been financed with a long term investment from pension funds and insurance companies through Rock Rail East Anglia, a joint venture between Rock Rail, Aberdeen Standard Investments and GLIL Infrastructure.
“The long term, highly competitive funding from our pension funs and insurance company partners and from the European Investment Bank enables significantly enhances value for money to passengers over the life of the trains along with significant improvements in the travel experience for the people of East Anglia.”
The 38 trains, 24 four-carriage trains, and 14 three carriage trains, supplied by Swiss manufacturer Stadler, offer passengers more seats, air conditioning, plug and USB points, cycle spaces and passenger information screens. They also have lower floors with sliding steps at every door to bridge the gap between the train and the platform making it easier to get on and off the train for those in wheelchairs or with pushchairs.
“Our new trains combine outstanding passenger comfort with leading-edge technology. After months of hard work, we are delighted that they are being introduced into service.”
The trains will be maintained at the Norwich Crown Point depot which is benefiting from a £40 million upgrade in preparation for the Stadler trains, and Greater Anglia is in the midst of an ambitious project to replace all of its existing rolling stock with 169 brand new trains in total, the most far-reaching fleet replacement scheme in UK rail franchise history.
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