Greater Anglia's new trains welcomed by passenger groups
PUBLISHED: 16:34 04 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:35 04 September 2019
Passenger groups have welcomed the launch of Greater Anglia's new £1.4bn trains hoping it will mean an end to over crowding on the region's railways and an improved travelling experience.
But their praise has come with the warning that in order to allow the new trains to reach full potential, the region's infrastructure now needs to catch up.
Greater Anglia has invested the money in replacing its existing mainline and regional fleet with 169 new trains.
Made by the Swiss company, Stadler, the new trains offer passengers longer carriages meaning more seats as well as air conditioning, plug and USB charging points and better accessibility.
The first of the new bi-mode trains went into service at the end of July on routes between Lowestoft and Norwich.
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Since then the new stock has been introduced on the Norwich to Cambridge route with plans to roll the new trains out on all on other regional lines by the end of the year.
Jamie Burles, managing director of Greater Anglia, said the bi-mode trains hailed a new era for rail travel in the East Anglia, he said: "The difference in quality between the trains we offer now and the new trains we're offering really is huge."
Mr Burles said he hoped the new trains would improve passenger satisfaction: "It's with developments like these new trains and £1.4bn worth of investment that we are absolutely guaranteed to improve the perception of travelling by train in the region.
"These are fantastic trains and a much better environment to travel in, undoubtedly it's going to have a big impact [on passenger satisfaction]."
Chris Burton, a spokesperson for Rail Future which campaigns for a better rail network said he was impressed by the new trains but that track improvements were now needed: "The new trains accelerate faster and disabled people will find it easier getting on them because they are at platform level. They're light, airy, there's more space and more seats. As far as I can see people travelling on the new trains will be impressed.
"One of the most important things to do now is to get the tracks and the level crossings sorted out. These new trains can do high speeds but there's very little track which will allow them to do that."