Rail depot prepared for Greater Anglia's new suburban train fleet

Ilford rail works

Ilford works is being prepared to maintain Greater Anglia's new trains. - Credit: Greater Anglia

Greater Anglia has started upgrading its main depot that will be used to maintain and repair its fleet of new suburban trains now entering service on routes to and from Liverpool Street station.

The Ilford depot was built in the late 1940s to service the first generation of electric trains built for the lines coming out of London - and is now getting an overhaul for the new 21st century trains.

The redevelopment heralds a new era for East Anglia’s railways, with better facilities to house and maintain Greater Anglia’s new Aventra commuter trains being built by Bombardier.

Special high-level walkways will be installed to give engineers access for maintenance and repairs - as the new trains have more components on the roof than the existing trains they are replacing.

In addition, the depot will gain upgraded toilet maintenance facilities, as all the new trains will have large tanks to collect waste, rather than emptying it onto the tracks.

The entire redevelopment is due for completion in 2021, with a new storage shed, additional train stabling facilities and upgraded carriage wash still to be completed.

Martin Beable, Greater Anglia’s Engineering Director, said: “The coming months will be an exciting and busy period as we progress this major project to prepare the depot for more new trains.

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“At the same time, the team continues to work hard maintaining and repairing our existing trains to ensure a reliable and punctual service.”

The new Bombardier Aventra

A new Bombardier Aventra train on test near Ipswich. - Credit: Greater Anglia

The first of Greater Anglia’s brand-new electric commuter trains entered passenger service in Essex last month.

Greater Anglia is getting 133 five-carriage commuter trains made by UK manufacturer Bombardier, which will mostly run into London Liverpool Street from Essex, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Ipswich.

The new five-carriage Class 720 trains, which can be used as five carriage trains or coupled together to form ten-carriage trains, are longer with more seats.

They have USB and plug points, fast free wifi, air conditioning, improved accessibility features including a disabled toilet on every train, better passenger information screens and dedicated cycle spaces.

The trains are the first in the UK to have underfloor heating which works with an overhead heating and ventilation system to improve passenger comfort and increase foot room for passengers sitting in window seats.