Watch: New suburban trains still being tested across the Greater Anglia network

The new Bombardier Aventra on test near Ipswich. Picture: GREATER ANGLIA

The new Bombardier Aventra on test near Ipswich. Picture: GREATER ANGLIA - Credit: Archant

Greater Anglia’s new suburban trains are continuing to be put through their paces on test runs underneath wires across the region as the company prepares to introduce them later this year.

Meanwhile politicians are starting to speculate about when more passengers might be able to use public transport as lockdown restrictions are eased later in the summer.

There are now four Bombardier Aventra trains on the Greater Anglia network, but before they can go into passenger service, they have to undergo a series of safety and performance tests.

Those tests have been continuing – with the new trains programme team taking advantage of a reduced passenger service due to the pandemic, which has made more time available on the network for test runs.

MORE: How good are the new Aventra trains?

Ian McConnell, Greater Anglia franchise and programmes director said: “We have to test trains’ equipment, such as the pantograph – which connects the train to the overhead wire to get power, doors, passenger information system and other on-board systems.

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“We carry out checks to see how the trains interact with signals and overhead lines and we need to see how they perform at different speeds across the routes where they will be in passenger service.

“We’re looking for any faults that might develop after the trains have put some miles on the clock as we want to make sure that once they’re in service, they’re as reliable as possible.”

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Testing has also begun on two five-carriage trains coupled together into a ten-carriage train.

The Office for Rail and Road has now authorised the five-carriage trains as suitable for passenger service as either five or ten carriage trains, which is one of the necessary certifications that Greater Anglia needs to achieve, alongside the testing programme.

Greater Anglia’s new Bombardier trains are due to go into passenger service later this year on commuter routes into London Liverpool Street from Essex, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Ipswich.

MORE: Face coverings become mandatory on trains

At present the advice is to use public transport – including trains – only if there is no other way of making a journey. Passengers have to wear face coverings while travelling.

However that advice could change if the government changes the two-metre social distancing rule to one-metre. In that case passengers might only be advised to “take care” on public transport – although face coverings are likely to remain mandatory for the foreseeable future.

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