Greater Anglia’s first brand-new Intercity train entered passenger service this morning between Norwich and London Liverpool Street.
The brand new 12 carriage electric train, built by Swiss company Stadler, formed the 7.40 service from Norwich to London calling at Diss and Ipswich before arriving at Liverpool Street station.
At 10.00am the train departed London, calling at Colchester, Manningtree, Ipswich, Diss and Norwich.
This is the first time Greater Anglia’s new trains have been in passenger service at stations in Essex.
Ian McConnell, Greater Anglia franchise and programme director, said: “We’re very pleased to have brought one of our new intercity trains into passenger service.
“Last month was difficult for our customers, as signalling issues on our rural branch lines caused a great deal of disruption and also set back our new trains roll-out.
“We are making every effort to improve our service – and the first longer intercity train in service with all the facilities customers expected will start to make a difference to our intercity customers.
“This week we also ran one of our new bi-mode trains, which run on electricity and diesel, on the Ipswich-Peterborough route, where disruption has continued for much longer as a knock-on effect of the signalling issues.
“This year, we will concentrate on getting more new trains into passenger service and making sure they are as reliable as possible.”
The new 12-car intercity trains have 757 seats, which is between 23 and 41 per cent more than on the trains they replace which carry have 536 and 616 set. They will all be in passenger service by Easter.
In addtion to the extra capacity the trains come with plug and USB sockets, free fast WiFi, air conditioning and improved passenger information screens. There is also a First Class seating area and a café bar service.
Along with their bi-mode trains counterparts, the new Intercity sets which feature including a lower floor and a retractable step at every door to bridge the gap between the train and platform.
Electric push-button doors – double width in the middle of each carriage – are easier for passengers to open compared to the old ‘slam doors’ on the trains they are replacing. They also speed up the train’s departure at stations as the driver can close them all automatically.
Martino Celeghini, technical project manager at Stadler, said: “The roll-out of the intercitys represents a key moment in the overall introduction of the two new Stadler fleets. These trains, which will run into London are built to exceptionally high standards.
“They will vastly improve rail travel in East Anglia, supporting business and helping boost economic growth. They will be transformational for the travelling public in the region.”
The brand new Intercity fleet is part of a £600m investment in new Stadler trains for the region which have been financed by Rock Rail East Anglia and will be leased to Greater Anglia for the life of the franchise.