First new suburban Aventra train goes on test with Greater Anglia
PUBLISHED: 07:30 22 March 2020
Greater Anglia has started testing its first new suburban train on its network in Essex – the new Bombardier Aventra trains are due to take over most electric services run by the company from later this year.
The trains are currently being built at Bombardier’s plant in Derby, but production and testing has been slower than hoped because of issues with an earlier batch of the trains which were built for Transport for London.
The Aventras will take over all services in Essex, apart from the non-electrified Sudbury branch, and run as far as Ipswich. They will also be used on trains between Liverpool Street and Cambridge.
They had been due to enter service last year and to take over all suburban services by the end of 2020. That deadline looks very ambitious as the company is still building the trains, but Greater Anglia sees the testing as a major leap forward.
Bombardier is making 111 electric trains for Greater Anglia and the first was taken for a test run in south Essex.
Tests include checking they interact properly with the network such as points and signals, testing performance at different speeds and checking in at every station and platform to see if any signs or platform furniture needs to be relocated.
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Greater Anglia staff including drivers and station staff also need to be trained to work with the new trains.
The new electric trains are all five or 10 carriages – with each carriage longer than carriages on existing trains. The five carriage trains have 544 seats and the 10-carriage trains have 1,145 seats.
Ian McConnell, Greater Anglia franchise and programmes director said: “We can’t wait to get these trains into service because they’re going to make such a positive difference to journeys, so it’s fantastic that this testing has begun.
“Once we are fully satisfied the trains are performing as we want them to, we will put them into passenger service which will be later this year.”
“As well as providing extra seats, they will also give our customers a much more comfortable journey as these brand-new trains have all the mod cons that 21st century rail passengers now expect.”
Will Tanner, Bombardier Transportation Communications Director said: “We are committed to getting these state-of-the-art Aventra trains into service with Greater Anglia as soon as we possibly can.
“We have two of our six production lines at our Derby factory dedicated to the project, and have recruited 400 extra staff since December to help reduce the delay to the project which has been caused by a range of factors. We have now built more than 230 of the 665 cars on order.”