Watch: New suburban trains for Greater Anglia show off their features on test
PUBLISHED: 16:29 08 June 2020
Greater Anglia has been showing off its new suburban electric trains which are being tested across the network before going into service on lines from London to Essex, Ipswich and Cambridge.
The new Aventra trains are built by Bombardier at its Derby plant and there will eventually be 111 of the five and ten-carriage electric trains operating across the suburban network.
The trains have a range of features as well as green innovations which make them even more of an environmentally-friendly travel option.
The trains are longer, with more seats than the trains they replace. The seats, which are not in use on any other trains in the UK, have been specially designed for Greater Anglia, to maximise comfort for the person sitting on them and improve legroom for the person sitting behind.
Many of the seats are fitted with fold-down seat-back tables, with special grooves to make it easier to prop up your phone or tablet – handy for customers catching up with TV or films while travelling, taking advantage of the fast free wifi on board each train.
The seating design leaves plenty of room for either luggage or stretched out legs. There are also overhead luggage racks for storing bags.
There are two wheelchair spaces per five-carriage train – so if two trains are coupled together to form a ten-carriage train there are four wheelchair spaces in total.
There are also 48 priority seats for other less mobile passengers per five-carriage train. The wheelchair spaces include plug and USB sockets and a small coffee table.
Better passenger information screens give clearer information in every carriage and in future could provide other useful information, such as onward travel options, as well as the normal train journey details.
There are no doors between carriages, so it is easier for passengers to walk down the train. This feature also makes some travellers feel safer.
The LED lights and passenger information screens dim or brighten automatically depending on external lighting conditions – which saves energy as well as providing a more comfortable ambience for passengers.
The trains are equipped with air conditioning and they are the first in the UK to have under floor heating. As a result, passengers sitting at the window seat have more room for their feet and legs and the heating circulates more evenly across the whole train.
Unlike many of the trains that they replace, the new trains have four bicycle spaces per five carriage train, where cyclists can secure their bikes out of other passengers’ way and without obstructing doors.
There are two toilets per five-carriage train, including one accessible toilet, and all waste is collected in tanks rather than released onto the tracks.
Every set of doors on the train has a safety feature to stop things, including bags and straps becoming trapped when doors close. The doors automatically open a little in order to free whatever is caught in the door, but if after three attempts it’s still trapped, the doors open wide.
The trains are 40% lighter than previous trains and feature regenerative braking which delivers energy back into the electrical supply network rather than wasting the energy, through heat, as is the case with conventional systems.
Ian McConnell, Greater Anglia franchise and programmes director said: “It’s been very exciting to see these new trains in action and experience all of the brilliant features which will improve our customers’ journeys.
“We’re still able to make a few minor tweaks to the design to make them as good as they can be. I’m confident that passengers will find them a big improvement on the old trains they are replacing.
“We can’t wait to get these new trains into passenger service and complete our transformation of our railway with the wholescale replacement of every single train.”
Will Tanner, Bombardier UK Communications Director said ‘Greater Anglia have specified a cutting edge British-designed and built AVENTRA train packed with innovative passenger features. We are all working hard to get them into service as soon as possible.”
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