Greater Anglia’s first new “bi-mode” train excited visitors as it was put through its paces at a test track in the Czech Republic.

East Anglian Daily Times: Greater Anglia's Stadler FLIRT train being tested in the Czech Republic. Picture: GREATER ANGLIAGreater Anglia's Stadler FLIRT train being tested in the Czech Republic. Picture: GREATER ANGLIA (Image: Archant)

The rail company has ordered 38 of the three and four-car units that will be used on rural and none-electrified lines across the region from the middle of next year.

The trains can use electricity where it is available from overhead lines – but can use a diesel power-car in the middle of the train to drive the train on other routes.

The trains are being built in Switzerland by engineering giant Stadler, and the first four-car unit is being tested on the Velim centre in the Czech Republic where a group of rail officials and journalists from the UK went to see it being put through its paces this week.

As sell as these trains for rural services, Stadler is also making 20 Inter City electric trains for Greater Anglia. Both types of train are being testing at Velim.

Once the trains are in the UK, people will see the trains around East Anglia for many months before they enter passenger service, as they go through a commissioning “running-in” phase.

Employees, including drivers, conductors, catering, maintenance and station staff, will also need training on the new trains. The first train is expected to enter passenger service in the middle of next year.

Greater Anglia is replacing every one of its existing trains with brand-new trains. They will all have more seats, air conditioning, USB/plug points, fast free wifi, accessible toilets and better customer information screens.

Jamie Burles, Managing Director of Greater Anglia, added: “It’s really exciting to be able to see the first of our Stadler trains in action. We’re sure that these trains will transform train travel in East Anglia.

“With more seats, and all the facilities you expect on a modern train, they are definitely going to make travelling by rail a very attractive option across our region.”

Martino Celeghini, Project Manager for Stadler, said: “Each of the 58 trains we are supplying are from the latest generation of our best-selling, highly successful FLIRT family.

“The FLIRT is Stadler’s flagship product, featuring low floor and level boarding for improved accessibility, passenger comfort and safety.

“The testing phase signifies a critical landmark in the process of making and finishing the trains, and it’s only by effective collaboration with our client that the project has been able to make such good progress.”