New trains for region could be on order this time next year

Existing Abellio Greater Anglia trains will have to be phased out at the end of the decade.

Existing Abellio Greater Anglia trains will have to be phased out at the end of the decade. - Credit: Archant

Brand new InterCity trains for East Anglia could be on order by this time next year, rail bosses have said.

But they are unlikely to enter service until early 2018 – and will not have completely replaced the existing, refurbished, carriages until the end of 2019.

Last week’s general election win by the Conservatives means the rail franchising programme outlined earlier this year is likely to go ahead.

The new franchise is due to start in October next year, but an announcement on a preferred bidder is due to be made in the spring – and at that point the new trains are likely to be ordered.

New trains take some time to move from order book to track – and one issue that still has to be decided is how many will be ordered.

The details of the new trains needed for the region should become clearer when the formal invitation to tender for the franchise is published by the Department of Transport in August.

Current franchise holder Abellio is expected to bid to continue to run the route – but ordering the new trains as soon as possible is likely to be a Department for Transport condition for any successful bidder.

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The existing trains – even after the £12 million refurbishment programme – will have to be withdrawn by the start of 2020 because they will not comply with new disabled access legislation.

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