These pictures show one of Greater Anglia’s brand-new trains being put through its paces at a rail test track in the Czech Republic.
Swiss manufacturer Stadler is building 58 new trains for Greater Anglia. Before they go into passenger service they have to go through a set of rigorous tests to make sure they are fully operational, working well and meeting all safety standards.
At the Velim test centre, technicians are checking the performance and operation of the train’s voltage levels, brakes, traction system and pantographs. They are also measuring noise levels and electro-magnetic emissions.
Stadler is making 38 bi-mode trains, which can run using diesel or electricity power, and 20 electric trains for Greater Anglia. Both types of train are being testing at Velim.
The bi-mode trains will run on regional routes in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex, while the electric trains will replace the current Intercity and Stansted Express trains.
The testing phase for the Greater Anglia trains started in May, in Erlen, in Switzerland and is currently being conducted at various sites in Europe. Locations include Faurei in Romania and Halle in Germany.
Each site has its own area of specialism. Carrying out testing simultaneously at several places means that production can be undertaken as efficiently as possible.
Once the trains are in the UK, people will see the trains around East Anglia for many months before they enter passenger service, as they go through a commissioning “running-in” phase. Employees, including drivers, conductors, catering, maintenance and station staff, will also need training on the relevant aspects of the new trains that enable them to fulfil their roles.
The first train is expected to enter passenger service in the middle of next year.
Greater Anglia is replacing every one of its existing trains with brand-new trains. They will all have more seats, air conditioning, USB/plug points, fast free wifi, accessible toilets and better customer information screens.
Jamie Burles, Managing Director of Greater Anglia, added: “It’s really exciting to be able to see the first of our Stadler trains in action. We’re sure that these trains will transform train travel in East Anglia.
“With more seats, and all the facilities you expect on a modern train, they are definitely going to make travelling by rail a very attractive option across our region.”
Martino Celeghini, Project Manager for Stadler, said: “Each of the 58 trains we are supplying are from the latest generation of our best-selling, highly successful FLIRT family. The FLIRT is Stadler’s flagship product, featuring low floor and level boarding for improved accessibility, passenger comfort and safety. The testing phase signifies a critical landmark in the process of making and finishing the trains, and it’s only by effective collaboration with our client that the project has been able to make such good progress.”
The Velim Test Centre, owned by the Railway Research Institute, has two test tracks, and is one of the main testing locations for new types of trains due to be used across Europe.
Greater Anglia is getting a further 111 new trains from Bombardier, based in Derby.