Greater Anglia’s £1.4bn fleet replacement programme has commenced on the final phase of the project this week, with this past Monday seeing the last pre-planned journey for the remaining Class 321 trains, having the Class 720 ready to take over the mantle.
The existing 321’s will be on-hand for a few more weeks, available to be used as spare trains to provide further flexibility for services in the event of any disruptions or unplanned developments.
To commemorate the years of services from the Class 321, Greater Anglia has announced an upcoming charity charter train on Saturday 29th April, with the event aiming to raise money for three charities relevant to the Greater Anglia operating area – East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH), Havens Hospices and the Railway Mission.
The service will see the trains will run from London Liverpool Street to Clacton, Walton, Harwich Town, Stowmarket, back to Shenfield, to Southend Victoria and finally back to London Liverpool Street, covering the core routes associated with the Class 321’s throughout their lifetime on the network.
The new Class 720 trains will represent a major improvement to passenger services through structural upgrades such as enhanced seating capacity, plug and USB points, improved performance characteristics and enriched accessibility arrangements.
There are currently up to 101 of the Class 720 trains in service, with them covering the vast majority of Greater Anglia’s commuter and local services in Essex and Hertfordshire, accompanied with services between London Liverpool Street and Cambridge and stopping services between London Liverpool Street and Ipswich.
Accompanying the passenger comfort benefits are the improvements that have already been made increasing punctuality and reliability across the Greater Anglia network to historic heights, shown through annual performance indicators sitting between 2% and 95% for the last three years (and some individual routes achieving annual results of between 95% and 98%).
10 new intercity electric trains are running between Norwich, Ipswich, Colchester and London concurrently, with a further 10 electric trains operating Stansted Express services between the capital and the airport, and 38 new regional bi-mode trains are operating local services across Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and on the Marks Tey to Sudbury branch.
Jonathan Denby, Head of Corporate Affairs, Greater Anglia said:
“The last day of pre-planned, scheduled use of the Class 321 trains in normal service, on Monday, marks the start of the last phase of our transition to a Greater Anglia network fully operated by new trains. We’re looking forward to reaching that point, in the weeks ahead, at which every one of our customers will benefit from the extra seating capacity, more comfortable journeys, improved accessibility and better performance that our new trains offer.
"In the meantime, anyone wishing to bid their farewells to the Class 321s has a chance to do so with their final planned use in service between Colchester and Walton-on-the-Naze on Monday 3 April and on the Class 321 Farewell charity charter train on Saturday 29 April.”
Want to know more about the opportunities to become a key supplier to the UK rail industry? Attend TransCityRail and access an exclusive marketplace of buyers from Network Rail, HS2, Train Operators, Major Contractors, and all other tiers of the supply chain. For more information and to secure your place click here.