First new Swiss trains to arrive in East Anglia at the end of this month
PUBLISHED: 13:38 01 October 2018 | UPDATED: 13:38 01 October 2018
The first of Greater Anglia's Swiss-built hybrid electric/diesel trains could arrive in the region before the end of this month.
But passengers will have to wait until May next year before they can try out the new trains on the region’s rural routes.
The first trains will need to be put through extensive testing on the region’s lines and drivers and conductors will have to be taught about their operation.
The testing is likely to start early next year – but few people are likely to see the trains in action at first because most of their operations will be in the middle of the night when there are few other trains on the track.
The trains will be towed through Europe and then through the Channel Tunnel before being brought to either Norwich or Cambridge where they will be put together into a three or four-carriage unit.
The first was tested in The Czech republic at the start of September and then shown off at a major rail exhibition in Berlin at the end of the month.
A spokesman for Greater Anglia said: “We should get the first new train at the end of this month or in early November – it depends on the slots to get it across Europe and through the tunnel and whether it all comes as a single train.
“But once it is here there is a lot of work to do before we get it running – and then when that happens the first trips will be at night because there is more capacity on the tracks then.”
The public should find the new trains coming in on some services next May, and all the trains should have arrived by the end of next year allowing major improvements to the timetable in December.
Greater Anglia is also awaiting the arrival of new InterCity trains from Swiss manufacturer Stadler which will be similar in appearance and comfort to the new regional trains – and it is also expecting to get the first of the new Bombardier Aventra suburban trains which are due to be introduced on services in Essex and from Ipswich next year.
The arrival of the new trains was heralded by Greater Anglia managing director Jamie Burles who unveiled the regional train at InnoTrans in Berlin.
He said: “We are bringing InterCity-class trains on regional routes. We have a history of cascades and hand-me-down stock, and this will shoot us up to the top of quality.”