Testing stepped up on new Greater Anglia trains during lockdown

The new Intercity trains are operating between London and East Anglia, This is a train at Colchester

The new Intercity trains are operating between London and East Anglia, This is a train at Colchester. Picture: NICK STRUGNELL/GREATER ANGLIA - Credit: Archant

Greater Anglia is using the reduced number of trains operating on the region’s network at present as an opportunity to bed in the new trains that have started operating over the last six months – and to prepare for the arrival of the new suburban trains later in the year.

All but one of the Swiss-built Stadler bimodes trains used on regional and rural services have now arrived in the region, and most of the fast trains to be used on services between Stansted Airport and London have also arrived at the companies depot.

Of their 58 Stadler trains, Greater Anglia has now put 43 into passenger service.

So far only one Bombardier Aventra train has arrived in East Anglia and is being tested on electrified lines across the region. Production at Bombardier’s Derby factory was suspended at the start of the lockdown – but it has since been resumed after appropriate social distancing measures were introduced.

Many trains have been completed and are being stored out of the region – but Greater Anglia is expecting more to arrive for testing in the next few weeks.

In the meantime drivers are being trained on the new Aventras at two simulators that have been built in Greater Anglia’s Stratford Academy. They sit alongside a Stadler simulator.

You may also want to watch:

A spokeswoman for Greater Anglia said: “At the moment we are training our test drivers on the Aventras. We need to get more of them ready to do all the testing work that needs to be done – then we can start working with the drivers who will be taking out the trains when they enter service.”

The company will eventually have 111 Aventra trains in five and 10-carriage formations carrying passengers from Essex, Ipswich, Cambridge and Hertfordshire into London Liverpool Street station.

Most Read

They will replace the existing suburban trains which will be returned to their leasing companies to find more work elsewhere on the rail network.

The process of returning trains to their owners has already started – Greater Anglia has had to take all its branding off its former InterCity carriages and locomotives which were withdrawn at the end of last month.

The electric locomotives are due to be transferred to Freightliner – but many of the carriages have an uncertain future because they would require expensive modifications.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter