Could Greater Anglia’s new suburban trains be maintained at Harwich?

The new Bombardier Aventra train being built at Derby. Picture: PAUL GEATER

The new Bombardier Aventra train being built at Derby. Picture: PAUL GEATER - Credit: Archant

Greater Anglia is due to take delivery of its first new suburban trains next year – but has still not yet formally announced where they will be serviced in north Essex.

The Bombardier Aventra trains are due to enter service on suburban trains from London to Essex, Ipswich and Cambridge during the second half of next year.

They will be maintained and stabled overnight at Ilford in east London and at a new depot to be built in the Manningtree area.

The rail company had hoped to build a new depot at Brantham, just across the River Stour from Manningtree on the main line – but that proposal had to be abandoned because of difficulty accessing the site over the level crossing nearby.

The company has not yet announced where the trains will be maintained – the existing depot at Clacton is not large enough and there is not the scope to expand there.

It is understood that it is now looking at maintaining them at a new site at Harwich Parkeston Quay where there are a network of rail sidings, most of which are not in regular use.

A new rail depot could be built here with no access problems for trains and Harwich is only a short distance from the main line.

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However nothing has yet been finalised and Greater Anglia is unwilling to comment on what will happen until everything is agreed – probably within the next few months.

The Bombardier Aventra electric trains are being built in the company’s factory in Derby. The Swiss-built Stadler Flirt trains to be used on the InterCity services between the region and London and on regional services will be maintained at Greater Anglia’s Crown Point depot in Norwich which is being updated to cope with the new trains.

Maintenance staff have already visited Stadler’s Swiss factory to find out about the new trains – and the depot is expected to receive the first new diesel/electric local train within the next few weeks.

It is likely to stay mainly in the depot at first before being taken out on the region’s lines for testing – mainly during the night when there are few other trains operating – before the first of the new trains finally enters service in the region when the new summer timetable for 2019 starts operating in May.

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