Greater Anglia regional trains most reliable in Britain

Needham Market train

Greater Anglia's new bi-mode trains can operate as electric or diesel trains. - Credit: Paul Geater

Greater Anglia's new regional trains have been named the most reliable in Britain at the rail industry's "Oscars" recognising the best rail services in the country.

The Stadler-built bi-mode trains operate on rural lines across Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire - and also run to Stansted Airport and Marks Tey in Essex,

They were awarded a "Golden Spanner" at the awards, which are organised by Modern Railways magazine.

The three-carriage bi-mode trains, made and maintained by Swiss company Stadler, won the golden spanner in the category of new diesel trains.

It was crowned the most reliable train of its type in England, Scotland and Wales. They currently have an average of 14,767 miles between incidents – faults that cause a delay of three minutes or more.

Greater Anglia’s four-carriage bi-mode trains picked up a silver spanner award, meaning it’s the most improved train of its type. It currently has an average of 12,164 miles between incidents.

The awards come two years after the introduction of the trains caused major problems across the network - an incident at a level crossing in Norfolk where the barriers rose as the train approached meant all the trains had to be checked which caused major disruption across the network.

Eventually it was found they were not responsible for the problems - but shortly after they became fully operational the first lockdown was imposed. It is only in recent months that passenger numbers have approached pre-pandemic levels on some services.

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Greater Anglia has 24 bi-mode trains made up of four carriages and 12 have three carriages.

Golden Spanner awards

The team picked up their award at the Golden Spanners. - Credit: Tony Miles

Martin Beable, Engineering Director, Greater Anglia, said: “Our new bi-mode trains have transformed rail travel in the region, and we’re thrilled they have been recognised with two awards.”

Rob Baxter, managing director for Stadler Rail Service UK, said: "This success is testament to effective collaborative working with Greater Anglia and Rock Infrastructure and the valiant efforts made by our maintenance teams at Norwich Crown Point, who have squeezed every sinew to secure continuous performance improvement of the fleets we look after there.”

The Golden Spanners awards celebrate the best of train maintenance and are handed out to train companies who make the greatest strides in train reliability.