Watch: First daylight trips for new GA trains - but no passengers until spring
PUBLISHED: 19:00 11 January 2019 | UPDATED: 09:02 15 January 2019
Greater Anglia has started testing its new Stadler trains for regional trains during the day as well as at night - and the first trips to Suffolk might not be far away.
The trains, which are powered by either by electric or diesel power, are currently being running from the Crown Point depot in Norwich to Diss and back or to Great Yarmouth.
The pantograph – which picks up electricity from overhead wires – is being tested along with the doors to ensure that the trains are able to stop at the right place when they reach platforms.
The first public services using the new trains, which were built in Switzerland, are not expected to run until the late spring or early summer – but by the end of the year they should be a familiar sight on routes across the region.
Signs have had to be installed on the doors to prevent members of the public from trying to get in when the trains are stopped at stations.
A spokeswoman for Greater Anglia said: “There was someone waiting at Diss on the first day who thought her train had arrived very early – we had to point out what was happening.
“Overall things are going well. We are testing different aspects of the trains’ operation. So far we have only been on the two routes, but we expect to start running throughout the network before long.
“People will see the trains – and we know there is a lot of interest in them even before they enter service.”
At present they are only carrying engineers to assess the new equipment – and most of their trips are taking place during the middle of the night when there are no other trains on the tracks.
The trains currently being tested will operate rural and cross-country services from Ipswich to Lowestoft, Cambridge, Peterborough, and Felixstowe – and trains from Sudbury to Marks Tey and (eventually) Colchester Town.
Within a few years they are expected to offer through trains from Lowestoft to London along the East Suffolk line calling at Beccles, Halesworth, Saxmundham, Wickham Market and Woodbridge – and allow Greater Anglia to introduce a long-awaited hourly service between Ipswich and Peterborough via Stowmarket, Bury St Edmunds, and Ely. The first Intercity trains are due later this year.