Latest Rail News


Greater Anglia’s £3.8m Class 321 refurb nears completion

The £3.8m refurbishment of 54 Greater Anglia Class 321s is fast nearing its completion at the operator’s Clacton-on-Sea depot.

The fleet of 321s, which run between Liverpool Street and Southend, Chelmsford, Colchester and Ipswich, is benefitting from new carpets and vinyl flooring, panels and seat covers.

321 interior before Aug 17

An extra four seats per four-car train have also been created by decommissioning an extended first-class seating area. The work, which is due to be completed this month, has seen a team of 20 working round-the-clock to deliver the refurbishment. Greater Anglia added that a four-car train takes 60 hours to complete.

Jamie Burles, the TOC’s managing director, said: “Customers should definitely notice the difference when they travel on one of these refurbished trains. Our engineers have worked hard to make these trains brighter, cleaner and more comfortable, contributing to a much more pleasant journey.

“We are replacing all of our trains with brand new trains, complete with air conditioning, plug and USB points and fast free wi-fi from 2019, but in the meantime we are investing more than £5m in our current trains to help improve customers’ journeys.”

The new Greater Anglia franchise began operating in October 2016. Shortly afterwards, Abellio finalised contracts worth over £600m to procure and finance new Stadler FLIRT trains as part of the new East Anglia franchise. It came days after it emerged Angel Trains would be financing the £900m deal to purchase 665 Aventra EMU cars from Bombardier, which will serve mainly suburban routes into London.

(Top image is the Class 321 interior after the refurbishment)

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an RTM columnist? If so, click here  


SPT   04/09/2017 at 13:43

As someone mentioned on here previously about a similar story, the words "turd" and "polishing" spring to mind...

David   04/09/2017 at 22:09

It's a shame they aren't being replaced then isn't it.....

Andrew Gwilt   04/09/2017 at 23:32

Whilst 30 Class 321's are having a refurbishment as part of the "Renatus" scheme. Before new trains are built and delivered to replace not just the Class 321's. But to replace the rest of Greater Anglia's rolling stocks in 2019-20.

Andrew JG   04/09/2017 at 23:41

I so can not wait to see the new trains that will be replacing the current rolling stocks over the next 2-3 years. Class 720's "Bombardier Aventra" and Class 745's "Stadler Flirt" are Electric Multiple Unit. Class 755's "Stadler Flirt" are Bi-Mode Multiple Unit.

Steve   05/09/2017 at 11:13

Many are waiting for the new stock, and no doubt based on other new trains that have been brought into use elsewhere, they will all be lamenting the loss of the old Hauled Stock etc !

Tarka Man   05/09/2017 at 15:03

Notice how the finished product is First Class (which the are declassifying) and not the refurbished standard class - I wonder why???

Train Enthusiast And Commuter.   09/09/2017 at 19:23

I know this isn't relevant. But I wouldn't mind if the Bombardier Class 379's Electrostar EMU's were to stay on with Greater Anglia as they could be ideal for being used on Liverpool St-Southend Victoria, Liverpool St-Braintree and Wickford-Southminster services. I do like the Bombardier Class 379's to be fair. Been on them from Liverpool Street to Cambridge and Stansted Airport.

Essex Commuter   10/09/2017 at 01:00

As new trains are coming in the next few years. What will happen to the current fleet that Greater Anglia have still got at the moment. This is what could happen once the rolling stocks are used across the Greater Anglia network. Class 90's locomotive could be used on freight duties or possibly used on Calendonia Sleeper service along with the new Mk5 carriages that are currently being built and the DVT & Mk3 carriages could be heading for scrap. Class 153's and Class 156's Sprinter DMU's could be cascaded to Arriva Trains Wales, Great Western Railway, London Midland, Scotrail or East Midlands Trains. Most likely to be transferred to East Midlands Trains or Scotrail. Class 170's Turbostar DMU's could be used on the new East-West Rail once it fully reopens. Or Class 170's to be cascaded to Transpennine Express, Scotrail, Southern (to become Class 171's) or Great Western Railway. Class 321's EMU's could be transferred to Northern to work on Doncaster-Leeds service and possibly cascaded to Arriva Trains Wales to be used on Inner-suburban services and some of the Class 321's to be transferred to Scotrail to become 3-car Class 320's. Class 317's EMU's could be cascaded to Arriva Trains Wales to operate across the Cardiff area and inner/outer-suburban services and possibly some of the Class 317's might go to London Overground to operate on Romford-Upminster branch line if required. And some of the Class 317's could be transferred to London Midland to operate on Watford Junction-St. Albans Abbey branch line if London Midland are to get rid of the Class 319's designated for Northern or conversion to Class 769 Bi-Mode for Northern and Arriva Trains Wales. Class 360's Desiro EMU's could be cascaded to Arriva Trains Wales along with Class 360/2's from Heathrow Connect to operate on outer-suburban services once the electrification is completed. Or possibly cascaded to Northern or c2c (as c2c are planning to order around 20 new trains). And finally. Class 379's Electrostar EMU's that could be cascaded to Great Northern to work alongside the Class 387's that has replaced the Class 317's and Class 321's and to replace the Class 365's elsewhere such as Northern. Or Heathrow Express might be using the Class 379's to transfer the Class 332's to Northern to work alongside Class 333's as the Class 323's are to be cascaded to London Midland for the newly electrified Chase Line route.

Add your comment



Rail industry Focus

View all News


The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >

'the sleepers' blog

NPR, TRU & Fleetwood Mac

18/10/2019NPR, TRU & Fleetwood Mac

Switch up your playlist with the first #WeAreRTM podcast, gain exclusive insight into the leaders running the rail industry their opinions on recent headlines, visions for the future and meet the personalities behind the job titles. It's no... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he would not rule out his organisation issuing future r... more >
Malcolm Holmes, executive director of West Midlands Rail Executive, announced as TCR Midlands speaker in Birmingham

24/06/2019Malcolm Holmes, executive director of West Midlands Rail Executive, announced as TCR Midlands speaker in Birmingham

Ahead of his appearance, Malcolm Holmes spoke with Rail Technology Magazine about what key leaders in the industry were doing to improve rail in the Midlands. He said: “It’s very... more >