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Will new trains reduce the cancellations on East Anglia's main line?

PUBLISHED: 19:30 09 January 2020

The new Greater Anglia Intercity train at Ipswich on its first day in passenger service. Tom Hunt wants to see better reliability on the region's rail lines. Picture: JOHN DAY

The new Greater Anglia Intercity train at Ipswich on its first day in passenger service. Tom Hunt wants to see better reliability on the region's rail lines. Picture: JOHN DAY

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The introduction of the first new Intercity train on Greater Anglia's main line to London this week should reduce the number of cancelled services straight away.

And when more of the new trains come into service over the next few weeks, the number of seats on all main line trains should increase significantly.

The introduction of the first new 12-carriage Intercity train on Wednesday enabled Greater Anglia to take one of its existing eight-coach Intercity trains out of service and put it into "hot storage" - acting as a reserve if any other train developed a fault.

That should reduce the number of services cancelled because of train problems.

Bosses at the rail company hope that the second new train will come into service very soon, and when that happens they will then "break up" one of their eight-carriage sets - adding one carriage each to a number of other trains to ensure they are longer and provide more seats.

All 10 Intercity trains ordered by Greater Anglia from Swiss manufacturers Stadler are now in the country and are currently at different stages of testing on the network.

The first racked up about 1,500 miles of test runs before it carried its first passengers. Later trains are not expected to have completed as many miles, but they will have had significant testing in a bid to eliminate any faults before entering passenger service.

By the middle of next month the company should have enough new trains passed for passenger use to cover most of the services on the main line - and that will mean some existing trains should be withdrawn for storage.

The aim is to have all the new trains passed by the end of March which will mean none of the current locomotive-hauled trains are still in service.

They are non-compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act making it unlikely they will be bought up by any other company as they would need to make expensive changes to them.

However the electric Class 90 locomotives are due to be transferred to Freightliner for use on long-distance freight trains, including services from Ipswich (which have started from Felixstowe) to the West Midlands and north west via London.

A formal launch of the new Intercity service is expected to take place at Easter when all the new trains are operating.

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