Greater Anglia’s new trains shown off during visit to Swiss rail factory

One of the new "bimode" trains being built at Stadler's Bussnang factory in Switzerland. Picture: NI

One of the new "bimode" trains being built at Stadler's Bussnang factory in Switzerland. Picture: NICK STRUGNELL/GREATER ANGLIA - Credit: Archant

Rail company Greater Anglia has been showing off the first of its new trains that are to be introduced on services in the region next year.

The power unit of one of the new "bimode" trains being built at Stadler's Bussnang factory in Switze

The power unit of one of the new "bimode" trains being built at Stadler's Bussnang factory in Switzerland. Picture: NICK STRUGNELL/GREATER ANGLIA - Credit: Archant

The “bi-mode” trains, which can operate either as electric units or using a diesel engine, will form three or four-car trains on rural services across the region.

They are being built by continental manufacturer Stadler in its factory at Bussnang in Switzerland and the first complete unit is now being prepared for testing on its dedicated track.

It still has to be fitted with seats and to be finished ready for delivery, but the first units are expected to arrive in East Anglia at the end of this year.

They will need to be tested on the routes they will be serving before they are used for public trains – they include a diesel power unit in the middle of the train which could ultimately be removed if the lines they operate on are eventually electrified.

The front of one of the new "bimode" trains being built for Greater Anglia by Stadler at its Bussnan

The front of one of the new "bimode" trains being built for Greater Anglia by Stadler at its Bussnang factory in Switzerland. Picture: NICK STRUGNELL/GREATER ANGLIA - Credit: Archant

More trains should arrive early in 2019 and they should have completely replaced the existing fleet of rural trains by 2020.

Stadler is also building new Intercity trains for the main line between East Anglia and London and for the Stansted Express service from the airport to Liverpool Street.

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Once built, the bi-mode trains are sent to Stadler’s commissioning plant at Erlen, also in Switzerland, and will then be sent to the UK.

They are a new type of train for this region – trains whose journey is partly under electric wires such as the new services from Lowestoft to London will be able to run on electric power, switching to diesel when they leave the main line just north of Ipswich station.

The new Intercity Stadler train. Picture: GREATER ANGLIA

The new Intercity Stadler train. Picture: GREATER ANGLIA - Credit: Archant

The total replacement of the Greater Anglia train fleet was a key element of the long-term Greater Anglia franchise that was awarded to Dutch company Abellio in 2016.

The Dutch company has since sold 40% of its Greater Anglia shares to Japanese conglomerate Mitsui.

Stadler is building 58 new trains for the company while UK manufacturer Bombardier is building 111 new suburban trains for the East Anglian network at its factory in Derby.

The cost of building a complete new fleet for the region is nearly £1.5bn – it is one of the largest new fleet investments in the UK rail industry and should speed up many journeys.

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