Articulated design: artist’s impression of Stadler inter-city EMU for GA.

GREATER ANGLIA has unveiled a mock-up of one of its new Stadler trains, to be introduced on its network from 2019.

A total of 20 EMUs and 38 BMUs (bi-mode units) of the Flirt UK design have been ordered by GA in a deal valued at £600 million and financed by Rock Rail. Completion of the design phase for the new units was expected around the end of June, with the first completed train, a BMU, due to arrive in the UK for testing during the middle of 2018.

GA has ordered 10x12-car EMUs in inter-city configuration for its Norwich to London route, 10x12-car EMUs for the Stansted Express and 24x4-car and 14x3-car BMUs for its regional routes. The BMUs will also operate through services between Lowestoft and London Liverpool Street, although the exact configuration of these services is still being determined by train planning teams. All are due to enter service by the end of 2019. A 111-strong fleet of Bombardier Aventra EMUs, financed by Angel Trains, will complete GA’s total fleet replacement.

The mock-up was used during the design phase to look at interior options for the fleet, and has been shipped from the manufacturer’s Bussnang plant in Switzerland. GA’s fleets will all offer air conditioning, Wi-Fi, plug and USB points, electronic seat reservations and will have a low-floor design to offer improved accessibility. Inter-city and bi-mode trains will each offer six bicycle spaces, while the Stansted Express units will offer up to 18.

The 10 inter-city units for the Norwich service will also offer first class accommodation in a ‘2+1’ configuration along with a bistro buffet, which GA says will be designed to provide at least the same offer as its current catering provision on the Norwich to London route. Tweaks to the design (compared to plans originally published by Modern Railways in our November 2016 issue) have included moving the bistro car to be located between first and standard class, and providing a toilet adjacent to first class accommodation.

The cab incorporates provision for driver-only operation, which is used on the Stansted Express service. A train control management system (TCMS) will interface between the cab and other on-train systems, while the cab includes provision for using C-DAS (connected driver advisory system) when available and can be modified for use of European Train Control System (ETCS) at a later date.


The 12-car EMUs are formed of two six-car sets permanently married together. Each six-car set has one power bogie at either end, with a total of four on a 12-car train; on the BMUs there will be one power bogie at each end. The diesel power in the BMUs is provided by a central power pack, with a gangway enabling passengers and staff to walk through the centre. GA is currently investigating the potential to change from diesel to electric power on the move, and says it will seek to utilise the environmental benefits of electric power wherever possible, even on short stretches out of Norwich and Ipswich stations. All units are designed for 100mph operation, but with the potential for upgrading to 110mph in future.

To maximise the benefits of the low-floor design, GA is working with engineering consultancy DGauge to analyse platforms and identify which stations can offer full low-floor access. In terms of gauging works across the wider network, GA says it has completed initial assessments in conjunction with Network Rail and will be letting out works packages in due course.

To accommodate its new fleets, GA is building a new depot at Brantham, near Manningtree. Land remediation work is currently underway, and contractor Taylor Woodrow is due to move on site in August to begin construction; opening is planned for February 2019. At Crown Point depot in Norwich, preliminary alterations are due to begin in July ahead of the main works starting this autumn, and these will continue through 2018. More minor works are taking place at Ilford depot.

GA expects to display a mock-up of the Bombardier Aventra EMUs it has ordered for suburban routes later this summer. This fleet will comprise 89x5-car and 22x10-car trains, the first of which is expected to be delivered towards the end of 2018. Deliveries of the Aventras will continue through to early 2020: five-car units are due to come first, with all these in service by the end of 2019, followed by the 10-cars. The operator says it is working with Bombardier and Crossrail operator MTR to share lessons learned from the introduction of the Class 345 for the Elizabeth Line, which is also from Bombardier’s Aventra design.

GA also confirmed that its Aventra EMUs will be designated Class 720, with sub-classes for the five- and 10-car variants. The Stadler EMUs will be Class 745s and the BMUs Class 755s.

Stadler mock-up: standard class bays, using seats from Italian supplier Fisa.
Antony Guppy
Central driving position: mock-up of cab in the Stadler trains.
Antony Guppy