Trains upgrade nears completion

THE upgrade of passenger trains on the East Anglian main line is nearing completion with the introduction this week a 13th set of refurbished Mark 3 carriages.

THE upgrade of passenger trains on the East Anglian main line is nearing completion with the introduction this week a 13th set of refurbished Mark 3 carriages.

The latest new arrivals mean that 113 out of the planned total of 119 more modern carriages are now in operation on the London-Colchester-Ipswich-Norwich route.

As a result, One will be withdrawing its last full train of older Mark 2 carriages this Saturday, leaving just four Mk2 vehicles in use to cover for the remaining vehicles undergoing refurbishment.

The £25 million programme to refurbish the more modern Mk3 carriages includes new seat covers, carpets and curtains, six new café bars or buffets (the first of which also comes into use this week), easier access for the disabled and improved air conditioning and lighting.

A full catering services, including restaurants and at-seat trolley services as well as the new bars/buffets, is being retained, with the number of restaurant cars in the fleet rising from eight to nine.

The Mk3 fleet will also offer a smoother ride and more seats compared with the old Mk2 vehicles, with the Mk3 coaches being slightly longer.

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Externally, the refurbished carriages will be finished in One's distinctive “rainbow” livery which is also already carried by most of the 15 more modern, reliable and powerful Class 90 locomotives which have also introduced as part of the upgrade. The last of these locomotives to be painted in the One livery is also due to arrive back in Norwich this week.

Andrew Goodrum, One's business director for mainline services, said: “We're very pleased that the major upgrade programme for our intercity services on the Norwich-Ipswich-Colchester-Chelmsford-London route is almost complete.

“The arrival of the 13th refurbished MK3 set of carriages,and subsequent withdrawal of the last full MK2 set mark a real step forward in the quality of service we offer to our passengers.

“With the introduction over the coming weeks of the final batch of carriages and new café bars (or buffets), our customers will enjoy the full benefits of this major investment programme, which has improved the comfort, facilities, ride quality and catering provision on this crucial route.”

n One's last scheduled use of a full set of Mk2 carriages on Saturday, July 15, will involve the 0700 service from Liverpool Street to Norwich, the 0900 from Norwich to Liverpool Street and the 1200 from Liverpool Street to Great Yarmouth.