Greater Anglia continues to test its new fleet of commuter trains in the build-up to them starting to enter passenger service later this year
Built by Bombardier in Derby, the trains are doing test runs between Shenfield and Southend Victoria every day while final checks are completed, including in-depth reliability testing, covering over 1,500 miles in a week.
Overnight testing is also sometimes needed to check that software updates have been successful such as with the new passenger information system on board the train, which will be more modern than previous system in use on Greater Anglia’s older trains.
During the testing, the company’s drivers are being trained on the new trains under the watchful eye of an instructor. They check that safety systems are working correctly and they can deal with any out-of-the ordinary incidents, such as a passenger alarm being pulled, for example.
Greater Anglia’s customer service and conductor teams, as well as cleaners, have also been getting to grips with the new trains in their own training sessions, looking at the new systems and equipment on board.
Ian McConnell, Greater Anglia franchise and programmes director, said: “The in-depth test running and checks are vital as we want to make sure the trains pass our strict safety and performance tests.
“We’re very excited to see great feedback from people on social media who have spotted our new trains on the network while they’re being tested.
“We’re looking forward to bring them into passenger service, as we know they will make a huge difference to our customers’ journeys.”
The company has ordered a total of 133 brand-new five-carriage Bombardier commuter trains. They are all longer than the trains they are replacing, with more seats, air conditioning, fast free Wi-Fi, improved passenger information screens, better accessibility features and bicycle spaces on each train.
The trains have underfloor heating – a first for UK trains – which works with an overhead heating and ventilation system to improve passenger comfort and increase foot room for passengers sitting in window seats. They also feature regenerative braking which delivers energy back into the electrical supply network, rather than wasting the energy, through heat, as is the case with conventional systems.
The first of the new Bombardier trains is due to enter passenger service on the Greater Anglia network in Essex later this year. The roll-out will continue on Great Eastern routes in Essex and to Ipswich next year and is expected to begin on the West Anglia line by the second half of 2021.