Rail depot gets green signal as new trains are on their way to the east
- Credit: Archant
Greater Anglia has been granted planning permission to build a workshop to maintain its new suburban trains on the outskirts of Harwich.
Tendring council has allowed it to build the new depot beside the track mid-way between Dovercourt and Harwich International (Parkeston Quay) stations.
The new depot - which was originally planned for Brantham on the Suffolk/Essex border - will allow the new Bombardier Aventra trains that are due to be introduced at the end of the year to be maintained and serviced overnight.
It will also include a wheel lathe - a piece of equipment that keeps train wheels smooth - and will provide joys for between eight and 12 maintenance engineers.
Mary Newton, Tendring Council Cabinet Member for Business and Economic Growth, said the plans showed the district was open for business.
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"Although this is just one step in the process for Greater Anglia to create its new rail maintenance depot in Parkeston, it shows how we can support large companies to grow," she said.
"If this goes ahead it will be a significant investment in the Harwich and Parkeston area, securing jobs for residents and opening up new skills pathways for our young people too."
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The new trains are due to be introduced from the end of the year and will run on electric services from London to Essex, Ipswich and Cambridge. They are being built in Derby and will come in five and 10-car formations. There will eventually be 89 five-car trains and 22 10-car units.
They will be maintained at a number of depots across the region, with Harwich being the newest.
The first of the trains is currently on test at the rail industry's test track at Old Dalby in the East Midlands and are being tested at speeds of up to 110mph - although they will never travel faster than 100mph in normal service.
Ian McConnell, Greater Anglia franchise and programme director, said: "It's good to see one of our new Bombardier trains running at full speed on the test track. I can't wait to see it doing 100mph in East Anglia.
"These trains are going to transform our customers' experience of rail travel in this region as we replace old trains with brand new state-of-the-art modern trains."
Andy Derbyshire, UK chief operating officer, Bombardier Transportation, said: "This is an exciting time for Aventra and our product for Greater Anglia. We are looking forward to completing the tests and seeing the new trains in service."
All new trains will have USB and plug points, wifi, air conditioning, passenger information systems and accessible seating areas and toilets.
The first of the new Aventra trains is expected in service at the end of this year and all should be in service by the end of 2020.