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New trains as Abellio scoops East Anglia franchise

Rail services in East Anglia will be transformed with a mas sive 1,043 vehicle order to replace Abellio Greater Anglia’s entire fleet - the first time since privatisation that a train operator has replaced so many different types of rolling stock at once.

It follows the award of a nine-year franchise to Abellio East Anglia on August 10. The franchise will run from October 2016 to 2025, with £1.4 billion of investment promised. Abellio will pay a premium of £3.7bn over the nine years to run the franchise.

Bombardier will supply the bulk of the order (660 coaches), with Swiss train builder Stadler providing the remainder. The Bombardier units will be based on the Class 345 Aventras being delivered for Crossrail, but with the focus on seating capacity rather than standing space. The trains will come in two versions: ten-car and 240 metres long; and five-car and 110 metres long. All will be electric.

Stadler’s order will comprise 240 electric vehicles to form 12-car sets and 138 bi-mode vehicles to form three-car and four-car sets.

The new trains will be delivered between January 2019 and September 2020, and will include Controlled Emission Toilets and free WiFi (the latter will also be available at every station). The current fleet will be refurbished as an interim measure.

By 2021 the Department for Transport (DfT) claims there will be an additional 32,000 seats on trains arriving at London Liverpool Street in the morning peak. The new franchise will also introduce 1,144 extra weekday services.

Automatic delay repay for season and advance purchase tickets forms part of the deal, and performance targets will be increased from 89.7% of trains running on time to 92.9%. From October 2017 new ticketing initiatives will be introduced, including new offers for part-time workers and those who don’t travel every day. And a Customer and Communities Improvement Fund will be created, investing £9.5 million in what the DfT calls “passenger benefits”.

Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling revealed the news at an event at Bombardier Transportation’s Derby factory on August 10. He told RAIL: “This is a tribute to the Derby workforce that they’ve brought in this order. I’m pleased that it’s a British company - it’s an order that will safeguard jobs for many years to come.

“By awarding this franchise to Abellio East Anglia we will improve journeys for people in East Anglia. Abellio’s decision will ensure our train building industry in Derby remains strong,” he added in a statement.

Abellio UK Managing Director Dominic Booth said: “I’m very, very happy. Over the moon. This will be a complete fleet renewal. It’s a unique moment. It comes from my experience of running the franchise and seeing the frustrations of passengers. We’re going to be turning the oldest train fleet into the newest train fleet. It doesn’t get much more transformative than that.”

  • For more on this story, read RAIL 807, on sale August 17.

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  • Andrewjgwilt1989 - 10/08/2016 22:08

    I would like to see new trains to replace the Class 321's used on the Liverpool Street-Southend Victoria, Southminster, Braintree, Witham, Colchester, Colchester Town, Clacton-on-Sea, Harwich Town, Manningtree, Ipswich and Norwich Great Eastern services with the Class 360's to stay and to replace the Class 317's used on the Liverpool Street-Cambridge, King's Linn, Hertford East and Ely West Anglia services with the Class 379's used on the Stansted Express service between Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport and also new trains to replace the Class 90's+Mk3 rolling stocks used on the Liverpool Street-Norwich Intercity service and to replace the Class 153's & Class 156's used on the Marks Tey-Sudbury, Norwich-Sheringham, Norwich-Great Yarmouth, Norwich-Lowestoft, Norwich-Cambridge, Norwich-Peterborough, Ipswich-Felixstowe, Ipswich-Lowestoft, Ipswich-Cambridge and Ipswich-Peterborough services that are not electrified but new Bi-Mode/DEMU trains to be used on those lines and Class 170's could be cascaded as a result.

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  • What a shame - 11/08/2016 18:46

    As if Abellio getting the franchise was not bad enough, this fleet refresh seems wasteful beyond belief. While the 317s and mk 3s were life-expired, and the 321 fleet required intervention, such expansive new orders will make relatively modern 360s and 379s homeless. I am sure, too, that other readers will share my disappointment that the hopes of a cascade of mid-life 91s to Norwich are dashed, with passenger accommodation downgraded to EMUs. Not only this, but the Stadler Stansted Express order represents like-for-like replacement of a six year old fleet (which, as late Electrostars, presumably will have more in common with the Aventras). What game is Abellio (and the DfT playing)? It seems that they've gone completely mad with the idea of Nu Trainz without giving any thought about the colossal waste of recent investment, the probable fare rises, and the further downgrading of passenger experience. Utterly reckless!

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    • Andrewjgwilt1989 - 11/08/2016 22:42

      Well Class 379's could be transferred to c2c as c2c are hoping to order new trains and Class 379's could be ideal for them to use. As Stansted Express are getting brand new trains that are 5-cars aswell Abellio Greater Anglia (Abellio East Anglia) are ordering brand new electric and electro-diesel trains to replace the current ageing rolling stocks used on all networks as TfL have taken over the Lea Valley, Shenfield metro and Romford-Upminster with Class 345's and Class 710's to be built for those lines and new Aventra trains to be built for all lines across Essex and Cambridgeshire and on the Liverpool Street-Norwich route.

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      • OK then - 11/08/2016 23:45

        Why would 379s be ideal for c2c? National Expeess have committed to 17 new build trains, likely focussing on metro services. 30 medium-distance EMUs that come second hand cut the mustard because ..?

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        • Andrewjgwilt1989 - 11/08/2016 23:53

          Ok. c2c are ordering 6 Class 387/3's for 3 years and are planning to order about 17 new trains (68 carriages) in 2019/2020. Great Northern could be getting 30 Class 379's cascaded from Abellio GA if GWR are getting 29 Class 387/1's cascaded from Thameslink aswell GWR are ordering 37 Class 387/3's. With Stansted Express ordering brand new trains or to order brand new trains and to keep the 30 Class 379's for Liverpool St-Cambridge and King's Linn West Anglia routes.

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      • Andy Luckin - 27/09/2016 01:40

        Stadler Flirts are replacing the 379's in 12 car configuration

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  • David Faircloth - 12/08/2016 12:32

    It's interesting that the Stadler order is missing from the DfT announcement, and also there is nothing about it on the company's website; could it be that the order can no longer be justified because of the dramatic decline in the value of Sterling since the Brexit vote? Also, the report regarding Stadler elsewhere states that 10 sets are for Liverpool Street - Norwich; if that is correct, this is insufficient to cover a three trains per hour service on the route. Finally, what effect will a new depot at Manningtree have on Crown Point?

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  • Chris Burton - 12/08/2016 13:35

    At least Abellio a chance to run a decent length franchise and substantially improve their end of reliability with loads of splendid new trains. That really is a glorious first for East Anglia in terms of scale. But where does Network Rail feature in this package, as they hold most of the reliability Aces. What about Ely North Junction, Trowse, Colchester to Liverpool St and Bishops Stortford to Liverpool St capacity and reliabllity? And on a parochial scale; why is Croxton crossing north of Thetford still restricted to a time,fuel and brake sapping 40mph, when it was 90mph up until the accident in 2004? The crossing identical operationally to then, just with a far safer surface now? I genuinely wish you good luck Abellio, you'll probably need it.

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  • 7D3 - 14/08/2016 10:50

    I think the Class 153 and 156s should stay the Norwich to Cromer/Sheringham run and both routes to Great Yarmouth. The Class 360s and Class 379 could run on the London Liverpool Street to Cambridge and King's Lynn and maybe could run extra AGA services ton London King's Cross. The Class 321s could run with Arriva Trains Wales when the the lines have been electrified. Some 321s have already been refurbished. I think the Mk3 coaches and DVTs with some upgrades will be cascaded to Chilten Railways to extend the Class 68s Express trains on the Mainline, and run more and longer services from Birmingham Snow Hill to Marylebone to increase capacity. And maybe new routes from Birmingham to Paddington via Oxford. Looking forward to the new trains coming.

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  • Noam Bleicher - 14/08/2016 22:08

    I'm not sure what people's problem is with this? It isn't as if the 379s will go to scrap - they are owned by the RoSCo and will find work elsewhere. The 321s will end up at Northern I'd imagine, and the 360s with someone else who uses AC Desiros - TPEx or LM?

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    • Andrewjgwilt1989 - 15/08/2016 04:04

      I was thinking if c2c could have the Class 379's or Class 360's to boost their passenger capacity on certain lines that are more busier or Class 379's could stay but to be used on Liverpool St-Cambridge & Stansted Airport services and Class 360's could end up going elsewhere such as c2c or ATW.

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  • Jack Spillman - 16/08/2016 00:04

    Happy Abellio got the franchise hope they don't replace the 321's my favourite.

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    • Andrewjgwilt1989 - 16/08/2016 22:32

      New trains will replace the Class 321's but thats not going to happen until 2018 or 2019.

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    • Andrewjgwilt1989 - 16/08/2016 22:39

      In fact 10 Class 321's have been refurbished and further more Class 321's will be refurbished with new windows, air-conditioning, wifi, seats, floors, lights and a new livery once Abellio has signed the contract in October that Abellio Greater Anglia will be rebranded as Abellio East Anglia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Anglia_franchise https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abellio_Greater_Anglia

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      • Jack Spillman - 16/08/2016 23:23

        Interesting information. So do you think that the 10 refurbished/ to be refurbished 321's will stay?

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        • Andrewjgwilt1989 - 16/08/2016 23:40

          Only until new trains have been built and the Class 321's are set to be cascaded or possibly to be scrapped. Those links that I posted could be helpful.

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          • Jack Spillman - 16/08/2016 23:55

            Okay lets hope they do not get scrapped thanks for your help.

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            • Andrewjgwilt1989 - 17/08/2016 00:23

              No problem.

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  • Jack Spillman - 16/08/2016 00:06

    I am happy Abellio got the franchise they are the best . Hope they do not replace the 321's.

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  • Adam Fraser - 01/09/2016 11:24

    I agree with the comment below regarding the downgrading of passenger experience. London - Norwich has historically been a main line service, with rolling stock to suit. The Mk3s may be life expired, but why replace them with what essentially looks like high density, commuter style carriages? Clearly the intention is to go purely for capacity, and follow the general downward trend of new rolling stock that is significantly less comfortable than the old. Those who have no option but to use the service will endure a more cramped journey, but a less pleasant experience will hardly entice leisure travellers. That the soon to be redundant Mk4 stock could not have been used is a real pity.

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    • Andrewjgwilt1989 - 27/09/2016 01:53

      Well I been on any train during the morning and evening rush hour and it's rammed to the full no matter what day and time it is. Nearly all of the trains are always as rammed and overcrowded and yes more people are using train rather then driving to work as trains are ideal for commuting into any city that you work place is based in such as London which most people commute into London to work and London's major stations are always busy and money has been spent on improving stations in & around London and more investment is has been used to upgrade stations such as London Bridge which is still being redeveloped with some new platforms now opened and London Waterloo is to be redeveloped with some platforms to be extended for longer suburban trains and with the the former Eurostar terminal to be refurbished and redeveloped ready for 10-car commuter trains (Class 707's). Other London's major railway stations such as London Paddington, Liverpool Street, St. Pancras International, London Victoria, Charing Cross, King's Cross, Fenchurch Street, Waterloo East, Marylebone, Moorgate, Farringdon and all other railway stations that have been upgraded or to be upgraded and refurbished across Greater London and same goes for other railway stations the rest of the UK.

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