British train operator Greater Anglia has deployed the first Stadler-built bi-mode train for commercial operations.

In its maiden journey, the Class 755 train travelled from Lowestoft to Norwich.

The railway operator is scheduled to introduce 38 regional bi-mode trains in phases over the upcoming months. Most of the trains are expected to enter service by the end of this year.

The bi-mode vehicles, which can run on electricity and diesel power, will be deployed in configurations of three and four carriages, replacing the older fleet that has been operating for nearly 40 years.

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Once complete, the move is expected to better railway connectivity on regional routes across Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and parts of Essex.

Greater Anglia managing director Jamie Burles said: “Our new trains will transform rail travel across the region, bring wider economic, social, business, tourism and environmental benefits.

“It is the largest wholescale replacement of trains by any train company in the UK.”

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The Stadler-built trains feature more seats, air conditioning, plug and USB points, and offer improved accessibility compared to existing vehicles.

All the new units will be maintained at Norwich Crown Point depot, which is undergoing a £40m upgrade.

In November last year, Stadler delivered the first bi-mode train to Greater Anglia.

Stadler group chief executive Thomas Ahlburg said: “The new trains for Greater Anglia are FLIRTs, our best-selling product which we have sold 1,700 of in 17 countries.

“Like all the trains we build, the FLIRT relies on state-of-the-art technology to ensure safety, reliability and comfort for the benefit of passengers. We hope that the travelling public in East Anglia will like them.”

The introduction of new bi-mode trains is part of the £600m investment in rolling stock to improve services. The overall investment is financed by Rock Rail East Anglia, which will lease the vehicles to Greater Anglia.