Ipswich: Train builders wooing East Anglia’s rail operator

An artist's impression of an Aventra train.

An artist's impression of an Aventra train. - Credit: Archant

East Anglia could get its first all-new trains since the 1950s over the next decade – and rail builders are already trying attract business with new vehicles.

Two companies with British factories, Derby-based Bombardier and Hitachi, which is based in County Durham, are working on trains which could run on the main line between London and East Anglia.

And both are working on trains which are electric-powered, but have a subsidiary diesel engine so could also run on non-electric lines like those to Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft.

Bombardier is working on a train called “Aventra” which is likely to enter service within the next 18 months. It should travel at up to 125mph on electric routes and at 75mph on diesel lines.

It is also hoping to sell the train to companies in other parts of the country.


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Meanwhile Hitachi is developing variations of the train that currently runs on the high-speed line from London to the Kent coast that is also used by Eurostars.

Its trains are expected to be introduced on long-distance lines from London to Scotland and the west country – and could then also be sold to other companies including those in East Anglia.

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A spokesman for Greater Anglia said the shape of the new trains would be part of the negotiations for the new franchise which is due to start in 2016.

The new trains are likely to be introduced from 2018 or 2019 – but in the meantime the existing carriages are to be refurbished next year.

The spokesman could not comment on what was likely to happen – although Greater Anglia is currently working with Bombardier on a project looking at whether it is possible to amend existing electric trains so they can also run on non-electrified tracks.

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer, who with Norwich MP Chloe Smith has been pressing the government to invest in the region’s rail line, said he was not worried about who provided the trains so long as they were high quality and reliable.

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