Greater Anglia has now started testing the first of its brand-new class 720 electric commuter trains which will provide thousands of extra seats for commuters on their journeys to London.
British company Bombardier is manufacturing 111 electric trains for Greater Anglia, which will replace all of the company’s existing electric trains on all services except for the Norwich-London intercity and Stansted Express services.
The trains are all longer and offer hundreds more seats that the existing trains on all of those routes.
In the early hours of Tuesday 17 March, the first train was taken for a test run on the Southend Victoria line in another significant milestone in the progress towards getting the trains into passenger service.
New trains have to undergo a series of performance and safety tests before they can come into passenger service.
Tests include checking they interact properly with the network such as points and signals, testing performance at different speeds and checking in at every station and platform to see if any signs or platform furniture needs to be relocated.
Greater Anglia staff including drivers and station staff also need to be trained to work with the new trains.
The new electric trains are all five or ten carriages – with each carriage longer than carriages on existing trains. The five carriage trains have 544 seats and the ten-carriage trains have 1,145 seats.
They all have plug and USB sockets, air conditioning, under floor heating in addition to air conditioning and improved passenger information screens.
The new trains are powered by electricity, 40% lighter than previous trains and feature regenerative braking which delivers energy back into the electrical supply network rather than waste the energy, through heat, as in conventional systems.
Ian McConnell, Greater Anglia franchise and programmes director said: “We can’t wait to get these trains into service because they’re going to make such a positive difference to customers journeys, so it’s fantastic that this testing has begun.
“Once we are fully satisfied the trains are performing as we want them to, we will put them into passenger service which will be later this year.”
“As well as providing extra seats, they will also give our customers a much more comfortable journey as these brand-new trains have all the mod cons that 21st century rail passengers now expect.”
Will Tanner, Bombardier Transportation Communications Director said: “We are committed to getting these state-of-the-art Aventra trains into service with Greater Anglia as soon as we possibly can.