From now until early next year, Stadler will be carrying out tests at the Velim Test-Centre on the bimode and electrical trains that the Swiss train-builder is manufacturing for the Greater Anglia network.
Voltage levels, brakes, the traction system and the pantographs, noise levels and electro-magnetic emissions will all be measured on three and four-carriage bi-mode trains and twelve-carriage electric trains at the Velim Test-Centre, which is 70km east of Prague in the Czech Republic. Testing at this location started at the end of August and is likely to take around four months.
Stadler is making a total of 58 trains for Greater Anglia, including 38 ‘bi-mode’ trains, designed to switch between electric and diesel power. Bi-mode units are fitted with modern diesel engines, which can be used when operating on electrified lines. This will cut emissions and make journeys more comfortable for passengers. All of these bi-modes will run on regional routes in Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire.
The testing phase for the Greater Anglia trains started in May in Erlen in Switzerland and is currently being conducted at various sites in Europe. Locations include Faurei in Romania, Halle in Germany, as well as Velim and Erlen. Each site has its own area of specialism, and carrying out testing simultaneously at several places means that production can be undertaken as efficiently as possible.
The Swiss rail-manufacturer is also making ten electric Intercity trains and ten electric Stansted Express trains for Greater Anglia, which will start arriving in the UK for further testing and commissioning in the first quarter of 2019. The first bi-mode train will be brought to the UK for testing this autumn October 2018 and trains will gradually be introduced into passenger service from mid-2019. All trains are set to be in operation within twelve months from then.
Martino Celeghini, Project Manager for Stadler, said: ‘Each of the 58 trains we are supplying is from the latest generation of our best-selling, highly successful FLIRT family. The FLIRT is Stadler’s flagship product, featuring low floor and level boarding for improved accessibility, passenger comfort and safety. The testing phase signifies a critical landmark in the process of making and finishing the trains, and it’s only by effective collaboration with our client that the project has been able to make such good progress.’
Jamie Burles, Managing Director of Greater Anglia, added: ‘It’s really exciting to be able to see the first of our Stadler trains in action. We’re sure that these trains, which will all be fitted with more seats, air conditioning, plug and USB points, free fast wifi and accessible toilets will transform train travel in East Anglia.’
The Velim Test Centre, owned by the Railway Research Institute, has two test tracks, and is one of the main testing locations for new types of rolling stock intended to be used in Europe.
The new Stadler trains are financed by Rock Rail East Anglia, a joint venture between Rock Rail, Aberdeen Standard Investments and GLIL Infrastructure. They will be leased to Greater Anglia.