Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Greater Anglia Update

Greater Anglia has promised passengers won't be suffering "ironing board" seats on new trains being rolled out next year.
The train operator has asked passengers for feedback and said it had hired an expert in train seat design to find the best seats available and advise on making them more comfortable. It is carrying out a major fleet replacement programme that will mean every train in the Greater Anglia fleet is replaced with brand new trains.

The £1.4bn investment in 169 new trains will also see every train fitted with free Wi-Fi, at-seat plugs and USB points, along with air conditioning.

Jason Brandon, brand manager for Greater Anglia, said, "We’re very aware of the problems that there have been in other parts of the country with seats on new trains and this is why we really listened to customers’ feedback and really wanted to avoid any mis-shaped seats or too hard a seat.
We’ve heard the feedback from customers, we’ve listened, and we care about them being as comfortable as possible so we’ve selected a seat which is far more comfortable for customers."

Commuters have previously complained about new seats on Thameslink services and being rolled out on Great Northern, saying they were like sitting on 

an ironing board.

Thameslink meanwhile has said various seat designs were tested with passengers and the Department for Transport-approved design met strict safety and capacity requirements, while offering the best comfort.

Andrew Schoenemann, of Schoenemann Design, has been brought on board to help Greater Anglia, having over 30 years’ experience designing trains.

He said: "We were presented with a range of seats to look at and we were able to find the best seat to fit the environment for our new trains and for the passengers."

The pledge from Greater Anglia comes after the train operator said yesterday the mass timetable shake-up later this month will mean thousands of extra seats for commuters.

Rail passengers in East Anglia were told they will benefit from more trains and over 7,000 extra seats per week when the new timetable starts on 20 May.

Greater Anglia is replacing all of its trains. 111 of them are being built by UK-based train company, Bombardier. Two production lines have been set up in the Derby factory and carriages from the first train are in various stages of assembly.

The aluminium pre-glazed body sides, roofs, floor and cabs are manufactured, wired, fitted out and painted before being bolted together on the line.

The Bombardier trains will be used for commuter services into London Liverpool Street from Essex, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire.

 Greater Anglia Class 755/4 manufactured by Stadler

A further 58 trains are being made by Stadler, in Switzerland, to replace the current intercity, Stansted Express and rural line trains. The first four-car Class 755/4 bi-mode unit for Greater Anglia was unveiled to the press in Erlen, Switzerland on May 3.

All of Greater Anglia’s new trains will have more seats, plug and USB Points, air conditioning and fast free wifi.

 UK-based train company, Bombardier have set up two production lines in the Derby factory and carriages from the first Greater Anglia order are in various stages of assembly.

Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia Managing Director, said: “It’s brilliant to see our brand new trains taking shape. We’re confident that they’ll make a big difference to customers travelling by train in East Anglia.

“These new trains will be more comfortable and reliable, helping us transform the railway in East Anglia.”

A Bombardier spokesperson said: “The first train for Greater Anglia is shaping up nicely at our Derby facility, and we are proud to be playing our part in helping transform the railway in East Anglia.”

Malcolm Brown, CEO of Angel Trains – the company procuring and financing the 665 vehicles – said: “We are delighted to see this fleet of Class 720 Aventra trains being assembled at Bombardier’s Derby factory. The £900m deal we signed in September 2016 to procure these new vehicles, one of the largest private investments into rolling stock in the last 20 years, will greatly increase capacity across East Anglia and significantly improve passenger experience.”

Take a virtual tour here inside one of the new Greater Anglia Trains