Greater Anglia's new Aventra suburban trains reach Ipswich

New trains from Ipswich to London at Ipswich station

The new Aventra train at Ipswich station with a Stadler bimode behind. - Credit: Charlotte Bond

The first new Greater Anglia Aventra suburban train in normal service has reached Ipswich - giving travellers heading towards London a first glimpse of the new generation of trains for the region.

The five-carriage Aventra trains, made by Alstrom in its UK factory in Derby, are designed to replace all Greater Anglia's suburban trains operating in Essex, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire - and will travel as far as Ipswich in normal service.

By the middle of next year, they should have replaced all of the route's existing suburban trains, which date back to the 1980s and 1990s.

The Aventras are the second part of Greater Anglia's fleet renewal - following the arrival of the Swiss-built Stadler trains on its Intercity and regional services last year.

At present, trains can only be used for "essential journeys" - travel for work, education and medical appointments.

However, from April 12 people should be allowed to use them to get to non-essential shops or to meet other people outside when outdoor hospitality opens.

Public transport should be more generally opened up after May 17, although people will still have to wear face coverings on trains or railway property until at least June 21.

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Greater Anglia's Andrew Goodrum said: "It's brilliant to see more of our routes served by brand new trains.

"Obviously, at the moment, there aren't as many passengers as usual due to Covid-19 - but as we follow the roadmap out of lockdown, we're sure passengers will appreciate the extra seats, space and mod cons these trains will give them."

The new trains all have free wi-fi and charging points at all seats for mobile phones and tablets.

Inside an Aventra train

Inside the new Aventra suburban train. - Credit: Charlotte Bond

They have accessible toilets and space for wheelchairs - and each five-carriage train has dedicated space for four full-sized cycles.

At present, there are 16 of the Aventras in service.

Eventually, Greater Anglia will have 133 - each with 540 seats and the ability to carry up to 145 standing passengers.

At busy times, two sets are expected to be coupled together to make a 10-carriage train on busy routes.

The trains were designed and built by Bombardier Rail - but that company was taken over by the French Alstrom company last autumn.