Testing continues on new Aventra suburban trains for Greater Anglia

Greater Anglia's new Bombardier Aventra train is being tested before being introduced into passenger

Greater Anglia's new Bombardier Aventra train is being tested before being introduced into passenger service. Picture: GREATER ANGLIA - Credit: Archant

Only a fraction of the usual numbers of passengers are travelling by train at present – but Greater Anglia is preparing for when people return to the tracks by testing their first new suburban Aventra train across the region.

The new train is the first of 111 that are being built for the company by Derby-based Bombardier – and the testing has been continuing under strict conditions despite the current near-lockdown.

It has been to all parts of the electrified Greater Anglia region – although in normal service the trains will be largely confined to routes south of Ipswich and Cambridge.

Ian McConnell, Greater Anglia franchise and programmes director, said: “We are continuing with our new trains programme during the coronavirus outbreak because we still need to replace all of our old trains.

“The new trains have much better accessibility features than our existing trains, as well as all the mod cons that 21st rail passengers expect – and more seats.

“We are very grateful to the drivers, engineers, technicians, depot staff, control staff, the project team and our colleagues in other railway organisations who are coming to work everyday in these worrying times to carry out this important work.

“We are following all Government guidelines to keep them safe during the coronavirus outbreak while they are at work.”

The new trains are all longer with more seats, plug and USB sockets, air conditioning, under floor heating in addition to air conditioning and improved passenger information screens.

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They are greener too: powered by electricity, 40% lighter than previous trains and feature regenerative braking which delivers energy back into the electrical supply network rather than waste the energy, through heat, as in conventional systems.

New trains have to undergo a series of performance and safety tests before they can come into passenger service, starting later this year.

Greater Anglia staff including drivers and station staff also need to be trained to work with the new trains.

The new electric trains have five or 10 carriages – with each carriage longer than carriages on existing trains. The five carriage trains have 544 seats and the 10-carriage trains have 1,145 seats.