First of Greater Anglia’s new Inter City trains runs from Norwich station
The first of Greater Anglia’s new Inter City trains between Norwich and London has made its inaugural journey with passengers.
The 7.40am service from Norwich to Liverpool Street today (Wednesday, January 8) was the first time commuters have got to travel on a new class 745.
Following a number of test trips, the 12-carriage number 745007 train set off on time from Norwich Railway Station - one of a fleet of 10 new Inter City trains from Swiss manufacturer Stadler.
Greater Anglia said the new trains had 752 seats compared to 614 on the train which had been used up to now.
The rail operator hopes to introduce the new trains at a rate of about one a week, ensuring they are all in service by the time the new deadline for compliance with the government's Disability Discrimination Act is reached on March 31.
The arrival of the new trains should allow the company to strengthen its current fleet of older trains - ensuring there are no more main line services cancelled because of train faults and that they are all eight or nine carriages long.
The train, which stopped at Diss and Ipswich, arrived in London on time.
Greater Anglia is replacing its existing fleet with 169 new trains as part of a £600m investment.
But there have been problems with signalling, particularly on the Norwich to Sheringham lines, which caused cancellations and delays.
Ian McConnell, Greater Anglia franchise and programme director, said: "We're very pleased to have brought one of our new intercity trains into passenger service.
"Last month was difficult for our customers, as signalling issues on our rural branch lines caused a great deal of disruption and also set back our new trains roll-out.
"We are making every effort to improve our service - and the first longer intercity train in service with all the facilities customers expected will start to make a difference to our intercity customers."
The rail company hired an expert seat designer, while there are USB and plug points for each pair of seats and a mix of tables and seatback tables.
Each train also has air conditioning and free wifi.
There is also a café bar area and space for six bicycles.
What did passengers think?
Rob Field travels from Norwich to London every week on business and was impressed by the new train.
He said: "It is a major improvement on what we usually find. Everything is working and I can use my computer on the way to work.
"After the problems we have had recently this is really good news. I hope they soon get on with bringing in more trains like this."
Ben Tuddenham was also travelling from Norwich, but is only an occasional train traveller.
He said: "This is much better than I was expecting when I arrived today. I am going to London for a product launch so I am impressed by this product launch!
"If trains are all going to be like this, it should be much easier to persuade people to use them. It's very comfortable and the USB point to charge my devices is very useful."