Pictures: First look at new train carriages on Norfolk to London line
- Credit: Archant
A tantalising glimpse of what life could be like in the future has been revealed when rail operator Abellio gave long-suffering rail commuters a first look at the refurbished carriages that should be improving inter-city travel between Norwich and London from next spring.
Abellio Greater Anglia's fleet of 119 carriages is being upgraded with new toilets, lights, carpets, re-upholstered seats, and power points for computers or mobile phones.
The first carriages are due to be sent to rail engineering company Vooslah at the end of this year and they should be back in service by March next year. The last of the 111 carriages to be upgraded is due to arrive back in October 2016 to coincide with the end of the current rail franchise. A further eight carriages are to be converted from First Class kitchen vehicles to standard class seating – increasing the number of seats available on most trains.
The refurbishment is only a medium-term solution to improving trains in the region – by 2020 new trains will have had to be introduced to comply with new disability discrimination laws.
Chloe Smith, Norwich North MP, a member of the rail task force campaigning for investment on the route, welcomed the work – but insisted this was not a long-term solution to the region's rail worries.
She said: 'This is the most important improvement to have been delivered so far in our rail campaign, and it makes good on the Chancellor's announcement when he came to Norwich last November. But it's only the beginning and we will be putting in our task force report very shortly, detailing the full improvements that we need in East Anglia.'
Abellio Greater Anglia's managing director Jamie Burles previously said: 'This major refresh will deliver a significant improvement in the travelling environment for passengers on our key intercity services between Norwich, Ipswich, Colchester and London, with the first upgraded carriages due into service in the first quarter of next year.
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'It is good news for customers, stakeholders and the region.'