First outing for new Greater Anglia trains on Norwich to Cambridge route
- Credit: Archant
Greater Anglia's brand new trains have been on their first outing on the Norwich to Cambridge route.
One of the new bi-mode trains set off on its very first Cambridge bound journey at 6.33am earlier today (Tuesday, August 13).
And the new passenger train arrived at its destination in the university city at 7.50am, a full three minutes ahead of schedule.
The rail provider launched its new trains just two weeks ago, on Monday, July 29, with the first journey in the region the 7.47am train from Lowestoft to Norwich.
Speaking ahead of the launch, Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia managing director, said: "This is an important and significant day for us today - and one we have all been looking forward to.
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"Our first new train has now entered passenger service and it's the start of a new era. Our new trains will transform rail travel in the region and bring economic, social, business, tourism and environmental benefits.
"It is the largest wholescale replacement of trains by any train company in the UK."
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A formal launch will take place later this summer, following the phased entry of services between Norwich and Great Yarmouth, Norwich and Lowestoft, and Norwich and Cambridge.
And figures revealed that more people than ever travelled between Norwich and Cambridge by rail last year, with more than 35,000 additional passenger journeys made with Greater Anglia in 2018, bringing the annual total to over one million, a 3.6pc rise on 2017.
The 38 new regional trains, which will switch between electricity and diesel power, were built by the international rail vehicle construction company Stadler, headquartered in Switzerland and consist of 24 four carriage trains and 14 three carriage trains.
Thomas Ahlburg, group chief executive of Stadler, said: "The roll-out of the new trains into passenger service is a momentous occasion not just for our business, but for passengers and local communities alike.
"The new trains for Greater Anglia are FLIRTs, our best-selling product which we have sold 1,700 of in 17 countries."
The trains will offer passengers more seats, air conditioning, plug and USB points, and better accessibility, as well as replacing a 40-year-old fleet of one, two and three carriage trains.
The majority of the regional bi-mode trains are expected to be in service by the end of 2019.