Greater Anglia’s revamped Class 321s set to enter passenger service

Greater Anglia’s newly refurbished Class 321 Renatus rolling stock is being prepared to enter service for passengers very soon, boasting a number of features that make the carriages more modern and energy-efficient than before.

The operator launched the new trains at the end of last year and now the refurbished rolling stock is being phased into service for passengers.

Commuters in Essex and Suffolk will soon enjoy a smarter, greener more comfortable ride once the 321s are rolled out from Greater Anglia’s Ilford Depot where final checks by engineers are taking place.

The new trains use AC motors rather than DC versions, making them more reliable and also adds regenerative braking to the rolling stock, meaning that the motor can work as a generator when the brakes are applied, as its kinetic energy is turned into chemical energy which can be stored in a battery and later used to power the train.

This is an innovation that will cut the train’s energy use by 18%, as well as a further 8% less energy thanks to the more efficient AC drive motor. These efficiencies mean the trains generate more power than the unrefurbished Class 321s, but can be run with less energy.

The Class 321 Renatus is the result of several years’ work between Greater Anglia, the rolling stock operating company Eversholt Rail and the equipment supplier Wabtec Faiveley who partnered up to rework the train.

The interiors are also fitted to have more space for passengers, air conditioning and heating, better lighting, new flooring, as well as ceiling and windows to ensure a more comfortable passenger experience.

Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia’s managing director, said: “This upgrade is one of a series of improvements Greater Anglia is introducing over the next three years, and will transform our passengers’ experience and also allow us to reduce our carbon footprint.

“These enhancements will then be followed by the transformation programme to replace our entire train fleet with brand new, state of the art trains during 2019-20.”

Last October, 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.

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Revolting Peasant   06/06/2017 at 11:37

Thank you, Professor: "kinetic energy is turned into chemical energy" - was this from the Ladybird book of mysterious witchcraft?

Huguenot   06/06/2017 at 11:39

So where will the Class 321s go when the Aventras take over? With Greater Anglia and South West Trains all purchasing new stock, we shall have a surplus of EMUs, including newly refurbished ones like the Renatus, but without sufficient wires for them to run under.

Andrew Gwilt   06/06/2017 at 12:44

Might see them as I use Greater Anglia a lot. Might even see them at various locations in Essex including Southend Victoria, Liverpool Street, Chelmsford, Colchester and Wickford. As I live in Essex.

Southend Born Blues Fan (Southender).   06/06/2017 at 12:53

I live in Southend, Essex and I don't live too far from Southend Victoria railway station and Southend Central railway station. I may see them at Southend Victoria and could ride on them to London Liverpool St and back as I go to London quite often.

Venus Born Train Spotter   06/06/2017 at 22:06

I may live on another planet but I may also see these trains through my mega telescope! Honestly, a site intended for serious and genuine discussion and debate has descended into worthless pap with over-excited train spotters. Raise the bar someone please?

Andrew JG   07/06/2017 at 00:20

Well at least Greater Anglia will be replacing the Class 321's aswell Class 317's, Class 90's Mk3's, Class 153's, Class 156's, Class 360's, Class 379's and Class 170's rolling stocks with brand new Class 720's Aventra EMU's and Class 745's EMU and Class 755's Bi-Mode Flirt rolling stocks in the next 2-3 years. Which there has been a mock-up of the Stadler Flirts that is to be built at Switzerland for Greater Anglia and to be delivered with the new Flirt trains to start passenger service from 2019 onwards.

Isla   07/06/2017 at 06:44

We get it, Andrew. You don't need to quote wikipedia every time you post.

Andrew JG   07/06/2017 at 12:27

I admire your comment that I used Wikipedia. But In fact I wasn't using Wikipedia Isla.

Noam Bleicher   07/06/2017 at 16:19

Come on children, play nicely. Seriously if you don't like Andrew's comments gloss over them. It isn't worth upsetting someone over. Back to the thread: Revolting Peasant: converting kinetic energy [the motion of the train] to chemical energy [in the batteries] is exactly what regenerative braking does. Huguenot: you've hit the nail on the head. Cheap money has resulted in recent franchises replacing entire fleets with electric stock. In three years' time or so we will have a massive glut of electric units from the late 80s and the early years of privatisation. Even doubling up Northern services for instance will not soak up this excess supply. Concurrently we will have a shortage of diesel units following Pacer retirement. THis is exactly why a couple of the RoSCos are looking at converting EMUs to bi-modes.

Andrew Gwilt   08/06/2017 at 23:48

Thank you Noam.

Mel   09/06/2017 at 12:30

the AC traction fitted puts braking energy power back into the OHL like GA's 360/379, batteries not involved. same system but different maker to what they tried on a 317.

Jasper   17/11/2017 at 00:17

GA should of just ordered more of the class 379 to cover the east anglia route rather than refurbishing the 321’s. The whole fleet is terrible and completely outdated plus the class 360 should cover the West Anglia route and get rid of the 317’s.

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