‘745s’ make Stansted debut

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‘745’ on airport duties: No 745103 on arrival at Stansted on its first day in passenger service, 28 July.

Greater Anglia’s Stadler-built Class 745 EMUs were introduced on Stansted Express services on 28 July, although an inauspicious debut saw multiple failures on their first day in traffic.

GA has ordered 20x12-car ‘745s’ from Stadler, financed by Rock Rail. Ten are inter-city units with first class and a café-bar dedicated to the Norwich to London route, while the other 10 are standard class-only variants for the airport service. No 745106 was the first to work to the airport in passenger service on the 05.06 from Liverpool Street, followed by No 745103 on the 07.10 from Liverpool Street.

The ‘745s’ are replacing the 30x4-car fleet of Class 379 EMUs on the airport service. GA says the transition to an all-‘745’ airport service will take six to nine months. Each airport ‘745’ has 767 seats, compared to 418 on an eight-car ‘379’ formation. The ‘379s’ will be cascaded to other West Anglia services, enabling older Class 317 EMUs to be withdrawn.

GA introduced the first inter-city sets on the Norwich route in January, while 38 Class 755 bi-modes also supplied by Stadler operate all its regional services. The ‘745s’ for airport services will also work a small number of London to Norwich services to enable them to visit Crown Point depot in Norwich for maintenance.

Aside from the Stadler fleets, GA is to introduce 111 Class 720 EMUs built by Bombardier to replace all its suburban EMUs. These will be introduced on the East Anglia side of the franchise first, starting with the Southend Victoria line. GA says the introduction of ‘720s’ in West Anglia is due to begin in the latter half of 2021.