New trains roll into service on coastal link - but what do passengers think?
PUBLISHED: 11:56 13 November 2019 | UPDATED: 11:56 13 November 2019
They may have been a long time coming, but the new passenger trains on the Bittern line have got the seal of approval.
Greater Anglia has stated running one of the Swiss-made 'bi-mode' trains on the popular Norwich to Sheringham route per day, and plan to have all the old trains swapped out shortly after the New Year.
One passenger on the 9.30am service from Norwich this week, Jerry Kinsley, from Sheringham, said: "It seems fantastic. It feels like you're in a proper train rather than something from the land that time forgot. [The old trains] didn't used to be a particularly nice experience. This is comfortable and clean and ticks all the boxes."
Also on the train was Ruby Dagger, from Norwich, who said she appreciated the new CCTV cameras.
She said: "I'm a regular commuter, I travel all over the UK, so I use trains pretty much every day. This is pretty much on a par with the London trains. The extra security on the train is important to me, knowing that my belongings are safe and sound."
But the biggest difference most people will notice is the extra capacity. The Bittern line has suffered a string of set-backs over recent months, and often only a single-carriage train has been run. This has led to passengers being unable to board trains because of overcrowding, and one incident where a teenager fainted.
Jonathan Denby, Greater Anglia's head of corporate affairs, said the new trains, which were all either three or four carriages long, would make that a thing of the past. A new four-carriage train, for example, has 229 seats, compared with 68 on one of the current single-carriage trains.
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Mr Denby said among the new trains' features were automatic ramps that extended to cover the gap between train and platform, meaning wheelchair users could board without assistance.
He said: "You don't get the sense of just how trans formative that is until you tell people - just the fact they can get on the train by themselves without having to ask anybody makes a massive difference."
Each new carriage costs about £1.15m, and Greater Anglia is getting 38 new trains for its regional routes, as well as 10 intercity trains and 10 Stansted Express trains.