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Testing starts on new trains set to boost services in region

PUBLISHED: 12:27 16 May 2018 | UPDATED: 12:27 16 May 2018

One of the new Bi-mode trains nearing completion at Stadler's Swiss factory. Picture: NICK STRUGNELL/GREATER ANGLIA

One of the new Bi-mode trains nearing completion at Stadler's Swiss factory. Picture: NICK STRUGNELL/GREATER ANGLIA

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Testing has started on the first of Greater Anglia’s new regional trains that are due to transform services across Norfolk and Suffolk.

An internal view of the new Stadler bi-mode train for Greater Anglia. Picture: NICK STRUGNELL/GREATER ANGLIAAn internal view of the new Stadler bi-mode train for Greater Anglia. Picture: NICK STRUGNELL/GREATER ANGLIA

The new bi-mode trains – which can run on both electric power from overhead lines or from a diesel power plant – will run on rural routes across the region.

They are due to start arriving at the beginning of next year and should be in service by May 2019.

The trains are being built by continental manufacturer Stadler in its factory at Bussnang in Switzerland and the first complete unit is now being testing at its commissioning centre in Erlen.

At the same time, Greater Anglia’s brand new intercity and Stansted Express trains are being assembled in another factory nearby.

The power unit of one of the new The power unit of one of the new "bimode" trains being built at Stadler's Bussnang factory in Switzerland. Picture: NICK STRUGNELL/GREATER ANGLIA

Stadler is making a total of 58 trains for Greater Anglia, including 38 bi-mode trains - 24 four-carriage trains and 14 with three carriages.

From next year the bi-mode trains will be running between Norwich and Sheringham, Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft and Cambridge; Ipswich and Felixstowe, Lowestoft, Cambridge and Peterborough; and Marks Tey and Sudbury.

Although the train is yet to be fitted with seats, wifi, toilets, and bicycle racks, it is possible to drive it and carry out safety and performance tests on it, to make sure all necessary standards are met.

Mike Kean, Greater Anglia director of franchising and programmes, said: “Seeing the first of our bi-mode trains on the tracks in Switzerland, it’s easy to imagine it speeding along our rural lines in East Anglia.

One of the new One of the new "bimode" trains being built at Stadler's Bussnang factory in Switzerland. Picture: NICK STRUGNELL/GREATER ANGLIA

“These modern trains really are going to transform rail travel in East Anglia – with each one fitted with more seats, plug and USB points, air conditioning and fast free wifi.”

Ralf Warwel, marketing director of Stadler for the UK, said: “The bi-mode, Stansted Express and Intercity trains for East Anglia will improve the comfort for the passengers by offering spacious interiors and by allowing comfortable and fast access to the train by low floor level entrances. The gap to the platforms will be further reduced using a retractable step.

“These are powerful and comfortable trains which share many similar design and operational concepts as well as identical components which reduces training time for drivers and maintenance staff.”

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