New trains become a familiar sight in Norfolk as services increase

Greater Anglia's new bi-mode fleet lined up at Crown Point depot in Norwich. Picture: GREATER ANGLIA

Greater Anglia's new bi-mode fleet lined up at Crown Point depot in Norwich. Picture: GREATER ANGLIA - Credit: Archant

Greater Anglia’s fleet of new trains can now be seen on regional and Intercity lines across Norfolk and Suffolk after taking over from their diesel and traditional electric predecessors.

Although fewer people are currently using the trains, they have been operating on special timetables throughout lockdown – with the number of services having been increased this month.

The Stadler trains used on regional routes are all maintained at Greater Anglia’s Crown Point Depot, Norwich, and run on both diesel and electric power.

Intercity trains have now become a familiar sight on the main line to London from Norwich through Suffolk and Essex.

Since the start of lockdown, the region’s train services have been running a reduced service, providing services for essential users only.

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In recent weeks Greater Anglia has started to increase the number of services but figures show passengers are still staying away with trains only carrying about 5pc of normal passenger numbers.

Earlier this month, the bosses of Greater Anglia and Network Rail in the east issued a joint statement about the current situation on the region’s trains.

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Ellie Burrows and Jamie Burles said they never expected to be in a position where they “thanked passengers for staying away”.

Commenting on the “strange times”, they explained the changes and measures which had been put in place to ensure those who did need to travel were kept safe.

They said: “We’ve made a lot of changes at our biggest stations, including at Liverpool St, to help those travelling socially distance, to help keep the virus spread at bay.

“A mix of new signage, floor vinyls, announcements, special customer information screen messages, one way systems, enhanced cleaning programmes and more staff are in place to help those travelling keep safe.

“Trains are being thoroughly cleaned, with an increased cleaning team providing an extra focus on key touch points such as buttons, grab rails and door handles, as well as using special “fogging guns” to help clean larger areas such as carriage saloons or vestibules.

“We know you’re doing your bit too, by wearing a face covering, travelling only when essential, looking at alternative times to travel if you can and buying your tickets in advance or paying using contactless methods.

“Thank you and please keep this going, as we can only maintain social distancing and fight this virus together.”

The pair said services were increasing to levels similar to a Saturday service and would be constantly monitored to see if more changes were needed.

“With the current social distancing guidelines, even an increase in services means we can only take around a tenth of the number of passengers as before, so there will be challenges to come as the country starts moving again and passenger numbers start to rise.

“It may be that we ask you to change the way in which you travel for some time yet. But we know that we can count on you to do your bit to help us all beat this.

“We will get through this period and we are looking forward to welcoming many more of you back to the railway when it is safe to do so. Until then, thanks for your support and thanks to our teams who are doing a great job of delivering a reliable service for those who do need to travel at the moment.”

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