£25m investment in region's trains

By Mark HeathTHE region's rail operator has revealed a £25million investment in improving trains – a move welcomed as "good news for passengers" by watchdogs.

By Mark Heath

THE region's rail operator has revealed a £25million investment in improving trains – a move welcomed as "good news for passengers" by watchdogs.

Train firm One will use the money to lease 110 Mark 3 passenger coaches, which will be upgraded and put into service over 12 months to replace the older Mark 2 carriages on the Norwich to London mainline.

The first fully upgraded Mark 3 carriages, which are longer and have more seats, are set to enter service on the line later this summer.

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As part of the rolling stock upgrade, One has already introduced a fleet of more modern, reliable and powerful Class 90 locomotives.

Combined with the new carriages, One said the move would offer passengers a better quality of service on the line, which now boasts 70 weekday trains on the route.

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Andrew Goodrum, its business director mainline, said: "I am delighted to announce this significant investment with the introduction and comprehensive upgrade of the fleet of Mark 3 trains operating our Norwich to London mainline service.

"This represents an important milestone in our franchise and demonstrates our commitment to the regional importance and status of the Norwich, Ipswich, Colchester to London mainline route."

Guy Dangerfield, regional director of the East of England Rail Passengers' Committee, welcomed the move.

"I think it's good news for passengers. The Mark 3 coaches are very good. It's perfectly true to say that it's an example of the railway offering higher standards to passengers as a result of this franchise," he said.

"Investment in rolling stock is always important. More would be better, but this is a very significant investment."

The announcement came as a number of angry commuters contacted the East Anglian Daily Times to complain about trains being short of carriages.

But Peter Meades, a spokesman for One, said: "While the transition goes on there will be some occasions where a train is short-formed. It's not something that will happen on a consistent basis."


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