Greater Anglia's last diesel trains head west as new Stadlers complete takeover
PUBLISHED: 12:13 03 February 2020 | UPDATED: 14:38 03 February 2020
Greater Anglia has lost all but one of its fleet of diesel trains as more of its new Stadler-built bimode electric/diesel trains come into services across the region.
The entire fleet of 30-year-old Class 156 two-car diesel units have now been transferred to its sister company East Midlands Railway for use on services in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire.
That leaves only one 20-year-old Turbostar diesel unit left in the region - and that is expected to be transferred to Wales by the end of the week.
Over the last two weeks the fleet of bimodes, which have been causing problems since their introduction was delayed because of signalling problems at the start of December, has seen its reliability improve .
For the next three weeks, fewer are needed because the Wherry Lines from Norwich to Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth are closed because new signals are being commissioned by Network Rail.
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The trains that are now being transferred away seem outdated now, but when they were first introduced they were seen as a massive improvement on the first-generation diesel multiple units they replaced.
They initially came in the during the early 1990s, but were then moved elsewhere and replaced with older trains before returning to East Anglia in 2005.
They provided the mainstay of most rural services alongside single-car Class 153s.
These single-car trains were the first to be transferred away from the region. The moved to Scotland and Wales last November where they are expected to be added to existing trains to make them longer.
It is a tribute to the initial design of these trains - and to the increasing demand for rail travel - that these 30-year-old trains are still in demand from other train companies. There has been a shortage of diesel trains on the network for some time because the government had been planning for more electrification but abandoned many schemes several years ago when costs spiralled.
This means that many existing diesel trains are being refurbished and put back into service.
But Greater Anglia will have no diesel-only trains operating after the end of this week although its bimodes operate on diesel power for most of their journeys - although they do use electric power on part of some routes.