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EXCLUSIVE: Prompt delivery of new vehicles key for East Anglia - Burles

A FLIRT being delivered to Holland. HOWARD LEWSEY.

Six brand new trains at a time will be under test on Abellio East Anglia’s network, when delivery of the new vehicles begins.

Abellio Greater Anglia Managing Director Jamie Burles, who will lead the new Greater Anglia franchise that is due to start on October 16, told the East Anglia Rail Summit at Westminster on September 7 that one of the key elements regarding the order for 1,043 new vehicles from Bombardier and Stadler was that they could be delivered quickly.

“We wanted new trains in as soon as possible. They start coming in in 2019 -that’s pretty quick,” he said.

“We need them for a massive timetable change in May 2019, so we needed a proven platform and we couldn’t afford to wait.”

  • For much more on the trains, read RAIL 810, published on September 28.
  • For much more EXCLUSIVE content from the Summit, read RAIL 810, published on September 28.
  • For an in-depth feature on the Stadler FLIRTS, of which a simialr design is on order for Anglia, read RAIL 810, published on September 28.

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  • Philip Walker - 26/09/2016 10:26

    Am I right in thinking that Norwich line intercity version of the new trains will be limited to 100mph? If so, this is incredibly disappointing and a huge missed opportunity to have trains which, with infrastructure improvements to increase line speeds, would radically reduce journey times to Norwich . An hourly limited-stop express should be introduced that does London-Norwich in less than 90 mins. Trains capable of 125mph are surely needed.

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    • Gizzy - 26/09/2016 16:06

      I doubt if the rail infrastructure here in East Anglia will ever be improved for plus 100mph running Phil? I wouldn't have thought it cost effective, not like for longer routes such as the GWML or ECML which are much straighter....

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      • Philip Walker - 26/09/2016 17:36

        Ipswich-Norwich, 46 miles, is a relatively straight and fast stretch and should be capable of 125mph. There are many other stretches of similar or shorter distance where 125mph is obtained: Swindon-Parkway 34 miles, and Newark-Doncaster 36 miles, just to mention two which have roughly similar characteristics as Ipswich-Norwich.

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        • BigTone - 26/09/2016 19:15

          Although I'm not familiar with that area, I think that a look at the slow parts of the line should help with end to end times as well as the straighter bits.

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          • FrankH - 26/09/2016 22:29

            ipswich - Norwich at present usually has 2 stops, Stowmarket and Diss. Then you've got Trowse swing bridge near Norwich which is I think single track and limited to 25 mph. So 46 miles in 43 minutes isn't bad. Omitting the 2 stops will save maybe 6 minutes, rebuilding and double tracking the bridge would also help but the cost would be prohibitive. As it's less than a mile from Norwich station no great saving will be made.

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          • BigTone - 29/09/2016 19:12

            I see, in the latest "Rail" that there was a "summit meeting" for AGA. Network Rail's head of the region was missing. Also NR didn't know about new housing coming to Colchester, there was mention of "pinch points" also delays were attributed 30% AGA, 10% others and 60% to Network Rail

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    • FrankH - 26/09/2016 22:33

      The idea is 2 or 3 stoppers as now and 1 limited per hour which will be the only one to get near 90 minutes.

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  • FrankH - 26/09/2016 22:59

    "At least two trains per weekday each way between London and Norwich with a journey time of 90 min, and two between London and Ipswich in 60 min." The franchise requirment.

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  • Andrewjgwilt1989 - 26/09/2016 23:19

    Can't wait to see new trains to be delivered for the Eastern Region as new trains means better journey times to reduce overcrowding.

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  • Philip Walker - 27/09/2016 13:57

    Re comments above following my comment, I thought the 3rd train per hour would be the fast doing the journey in more like 90 mins. The service to Stowmarket and Diss cannot be reduced, so the extra train per hour is necessary to provide better timings to Norwich. I wouldn't have thought that the population level of Stowmarket and Diss and their catchment area of station-less communities justify the same frequency as Norwich. The same could be said for Manningtree.. And even with trains stopping at Stowmarket and Diss, the distances between these stops are sufficiently long for 125mph to be achieved with high-performing EMUs. The aim should surely be a limited-stop express every hour that does the journey in 90mins or less, not just two trains a day each way.

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    • FrankH - 27/09/2016 21:51

      A 90 min fast every hour is not feasable. It would pass the service that set off before it around Stratford and you'd end up with 2 or 3 platforms at Liverpool Street blocked depending on the turn round times which at the moment is 35 minutes. With the new trains having similar acceleration and top speed a steady flow can be achieved creating more capacity. 125 mph track speed isn't on the agenda.

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  • FrankH - 28/09/2016 00:01

    Another snippet from the rail summit, "New trains to be delivered on branch lines first, before the main line". Flirt 3's diesel variant I presume.

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    • FrankH - 28/09/2016 00:16

      FLIRT 3 bi-mode units for regional services. 10 x 12 car FLIRT EMU's for inter city, 10x12 emu's for Stansted and the Aventras on suburban lines.

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  • Gizzy - 28/09/2016 16:58

    I visited Crown Point depot a few years ago. One of the things I was told is that the Class 90 and Mk3 sets usually run at 85-90 mph on stretches of line where 100mph is permitted. The 2 reasons given, were firstly to allow some slack in the timings to catch up if trains were running late. Secondly, faster running means more use of electrical energy drawn fro the overhead, which will obviously cost the TOC more. As others have pointed out, there are a few other factors which slow GEML trains down, such as stopping for stations and the swing bridge at Trowse. Also, Freight and local Passenger trains share the twin tracks south of Haughley Junction. You can't really compare the GEML with 4 track lines like the Brunel Engineered GWML or the up to the minute ECML. I would expect the new trains to have far better acceleration than the current trains as well as be more efficient. This will be where the costs versus speed benefits will come from, although small infrastructure improvements will also be welcomed....

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  • Philip Walker - 28/09/2016 18:25

    Re FrankH reply to my last comment. I know 125mph isn't planned. But that's the reason for my comment! 125mph should be planned. As for platforms at Liverpool St, more platforms will become available with Crossrail. Also if the semi-fast Ipswich services (xx02 from Liv St) are extended to provide the 3rd Norwich train per hour, then no extra platforms would be needed at Liv St anyway. And as the xx02 could cover the stops at Stowmarket and Diss, the xx00 fasts could then stop only at Colchester and Ipswich thus providing a journey time close to 90mins. As for comparisons (Gizzy) with better-engineered GWML and ECML, the point is the GEML could have an upgrade or at least be fettled up to 125mph. The 46 mile stretch between Ipswich and Norwich is relatively straight and should surely be capable of providing sustained higher-speed running than at present. Two-track sections of other 125mph routes can I think be compared to this section of the GEML.

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    • FrankH - 28/09/2016 23:26

      Crossrail may give a little platform leeway at L/pool St, but new services on an increased frequency will take their place. Check the 1700 ex L/pool St and 07.40 ex Norwich each with 2 stops at 100 minutes. Those 2 are your potential 90 minute trains given a better path Ilford - London, 7 miles in 12 minutes, Stratford - London 4 miles in 9 minutes on the 07.40. Plus let them run at line speed to Chelmsford at least, not hold them back. 350 ton for a class 90 is nothing, A 90 minute schedule is within their capability, just sort the stops out and give them a better path. It's all going to miraculously happen when the FLIRTS come on line. 125 mph units would be wasted on the GEML even if Norwich to Ipswich was upgraded.

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    • Gizzy - 29/09/2016 15:53

      But as I said Phil, does it make economic sense to upgrade the GEML to 125mph? Are the returns from fares there to justify the costs of track upgrades and increased energy costs? I know the area well as I work nearby in Needham Market. Maybe the speeds could be increased between Haughley Junction and Trowse, but the bean counters will insist that it is cost effective. Even making a proposed plan for 125mph running will cost money. Maybe you should consider writing to the MPs for Norwich and Ipswich who are championing the cause for better services and 'Norwich in Ninety'....

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      • FrankH - 29/09/2016 20:59

        I think pathing is the main problem at certain times, 16.30 - 17.00, 25 departures and 21 arrivals at L/Pool St.

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