Thirteen days after Greater Anglia’s brand new four-car bi-mode trains began running in passenger service on the Felixstowe Line the new trains starting running the Ipswich – Lowestoft route.
The first new train entered service on the East Suffolk Line early this morning making the 5:25 departure from Lowestoft to Ipswich; the four-car train ran the return journey and was joined by a second brand new train at 9:07. The new trains will run alongside the older trains for the next few weeks when they will fully replace the old units.
The new trains are a step-change for the line which has been served by old one, two and three car diesel units, some of which are more than 30 years old. The new trains have lower floors allowing for level boarding; an extendable step bridges any gap between the train and the platform edge. Doors on the new trains are twice as wide as the old one and two-car trains making for easier boarding.
A dedicated space for wheelchairs is denoted by a blue stripe along the exterior of the train; a green stripe allows cyclists to easily identity which carriage to board, and each train can carry up to six bicycles, a 50% increase compared to the old trains.
On-board information screens provide passengers with details of seat availability and the location of the trains’s two toilets, one of which is universally accessible.
Along with spacious seats and large windows, the trains were designed with today’s connected world in mind; USB and plug sockets are located between each seat and the new trains have fast free Wi-fi.
Greater Anglia began rolling out the new trains in July on the Norwich to Lowestoft, Great Yarmouth, Cambridge and Sheringham routes, followed by Ipswich – Felixstowe and Ipswich – Cambridge.
The new trains run on diesel on the non-electrified routes and switch to electric operation wherever there are overhead wires which reduces the train’s carbon foot.
The brand new fleet of bi-mode trains will replace all units on the regional routes; the all-electric 10-car versions will run the Stansted Express and Intercity services.
In addition to the 58 Stadler-built trains Greater Anglia has ordered 111 new electric trains from Bombardier to run the commuter services between Ipswich and Liverpool Street, along with the West Anglia route and the electrified branches.