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Rail bosses confident teething problems are behind them as new trains hit milestone

PUBLISHED: 13:37 29 July 2020 | UPDATED: 14:05 29 July 2020

Greater Anglia managing director, Jamie Burles, with a new Stadler bimode train at Lowestoft earlier this year.  Picture: Greater Anglia

Greater Anglia managing director, Jamie Burles, with a new Stadler bimode train at Lowestoft earlier this year. Picture: Greater Anglia

Archant

Problems including a near miss in which two cars were almost hit at a level crossing have beset the first year’s operation of Greater Anglia’s new trains.

But now that 12 months have passed since the first bi-mode trains entered service, rail bosses are confident things are running in the right direction.

The first of the new trains was introduced on rural services at the end of July last year and were gradually introduced on all non-electric lines over the following six months.

However during the autumn, especially during the leaf-fall season, there were major problems as the new trains had to be checked for safety between November and January and timetables were thrown into chaos following an incident at a level crossing at Thorpe End on the Sheringham line.

On that occasion the gates opened as a train approached and there was a very near miss as a car crossed in front of the train. Following that, sensors on the lines and the trains had to be checked – leading to slower trains and cancellations for several weeks.

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Direct services from Ipswich to Peterborough were suspended over several weeks – although eventually engineers said it was not the new trains that were the cause of the problem that had led to the issue in Norfolk.

During the lockdown problems with the software on the trains have been ironed out and for the last three months punctuality figures have mostly been between 93pc and 99pc on routes where the new Stadler trains are running.

Greater Anglia’s managing director, Jamie Burles, said: “We’re really pleased with the positive customer reaction to our new bi-mode trains.

“This has been a major project, but my team has kept up a relentless focus on bringing our fantastic new trains into service and providing a better service for customers across the region.

“I am really proud of their hard work and dedication to transforming rail travel for people in East Anglia and the passenger feedback has shown just how much the new trains are appreciated.

“We look forward to welcoming people back on board our more comfortable, quieter, more reliable and environmentally friendly services, now that travel advice has changed and everyone can take the train again.”


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