Watch: High-tech software shows Greater Anglia where trains should stop
PUBLISHED: 16:30 05 December 2018 | UPDATED: 09:21 09 December 2018
As Greater Anglia takes delivery of its third new Stadler "bi-mode" train for the region's rural lines this week, the company has been showing off some of the technology the company is using to ensure the new trains stop accurately in stations.
The new trains are expected to start entering passenger service next summer – but before then have to undergo extensive testing in the company’s depot in Norwich and on the region’s lines.
One of the crucial points that has to be cleared is that they can fit in the stations – and to establish where the drivers should stop to ensure all four sets of doors are on the platform.
The new trains have one set of double doors on each side of each carriage – most existing trains have two single doors on each side, one at each end.
Greater Anglia bosses say the wider doors should enable passengers to get in and out of trains more quickly and easily.
The company has used new software and cameras fitted to existing trains to map out all 300 platforms on the 132 stations that its trains stop at.
This has been used to calculate exactly where trains should stop to give the best possible access to platforms as well as keeping level crossings clear and enabling the drivers to easily see the signals.
Bi-mode trains run on electric power under wires but have a diesel engine to provide power on non-electric lines.
Andrew Goodrum from Greater Anglia said: “We need to measure the length and height of platforms, check where trains need to stop for wheelchair and bicycle access and work out where we need to put up signs for drivers or move benches.
“It’s quite a task and would take a very long time if we had to go to every single station to carry out surveys and measurements.”
Greater Anglia is hoping to speed some of its services between London and the region from next May. There should be two trains a day in each direction doing the journey from Liverpool Street to Norwich in 90 minutes and to Ipswich in 60.
However there is not yet a firm date for the introduction of through trains from Lowestoft to London down the East Suffolk Line or the new hourly service between Ipswich and Peterborough. They had been due to be introduced in 2020, but the problems with timetable changes elsewhere in Britain has led to major changes being put on hold.