Rolling stock manufacturer Stadler has started testing the first unit of the new regional bi-mode train fleet that will be delivered to UK rail operator Greater Anglia.

The testing of the four-carriage bi-mode train is being carried out at Stadler’s commissioning centre in Erlen, Switzerland.

Though the train set is yet to be equipped with seats, toilets, Wi-Fi and bicycle racks, the trials will enable the company to carry out safety and performance tests.

“These modern trains really are going to transform rail travel in East Anglia.”

Currently, Stadler is building 58 trains for Greater Anglia including 38 bi-mode units that are capable of operating in electricity and diesel power.

The 38 bi-mode units will comprise 24 four-carriage and 14 three-carriage trains.

They will operate on various routes in the UK’s East Anglia region from next year, including Norwich and Sheringham, Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft and Cambridge; Ipswich and Felixstowe Lowestoft, Cambridge and Peterborough; and Marks Tey and Sudbury.

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By GlobalData

Greater Anglia Franchising and Programmes director said: “Seeing the first of our bi-mode trains on the tracks in Switzerland, it’s easy to imagine it speeding along our rural lines in East Anglia.

“These modern trains really are going to transform rail travel in East Anglia – with each one fitted with more seats, plug and USB points, air conditioning and fast free Wi-Fi.”

Alongside these trains, Stadler is developing ten electric intercity trains and ten electric Stansted Express trains.

Stadler UK marketing director Ralf Warwel said: “The bi-mode, Stansted Express and Intercity trains for East Anglia will improve the comfort for the passengers by offering spacious interiors and by allowing comfortable and fast access to the train by low floor level entrances.

“The gap to the platforms will be further reduced using a retractable step.”

A joint venture comprising Rock Rail, Aberdeen Standard Investments and GLIL Infrastructure is financing the trains.