Stadler secures fleet acceptance for Greater Anglia trains

Thanks to effective partnership working with Greater Anglia and Rock Rail, Stadler has reached fleet acceptance for the 58 FLIRTs manufactured and supplied for the East Anglia network. The contract for 38 bi-mode and 20 electric trains was Stadler’s first for the UK mainline and achieving this milestone firmly positions the company as a leading industry player in the UK market.

Since the trains entered commercial service, and with patronage going up, they have excelled in a range of performance measures, gained enviable rates of passenger satisfaction, and won several awards.

The fleet of trains Stadler manufactured and supplied to Greater Anglia has achieved the critical milestone of fleet acceptance. This underscores its high rates of availability and reliability and is testament to the close collaboration with Greater Anglia and Rock Rail.

Since the first unit entered commercial service in summer 2019, overall performance of the Greater Anglia trains has risen steadily. Today, the four Greater Anglia routes with the highest levels of performance are all served by Stadler trains and record an annual public performance measure of 97 per cent or above. (Figures provided by Greater Anglia).

In a Greater Anglia survey conducted last year among passengers travelling on branch lines using Stadler trains, 86 per cent of respondents said they preferred the new trains to the old ones; 77
per cent reported that it was easier to get off the new ones; 84 per cent believe that they could work productively on the new trains; and 76 per cent claimed that they would be more likely to recommend rail travel because of their experience on the new trains.

The Stadler trains on the Greater Anglia network have won awards for performance for three consecutive years at the UK industry-acclaimed Golden Spanner Awards, whose accolades are based entirely on statistical evidence relating to reliability. In November 2023, the Class 755 four carriage bi-mode trains won a gold medal for being the most reliable in the second generation new diesel category. Judges pronounced them “the most reliable train of their type” in the country. It is the second year running that the four-carriage Class 755s received this award. In 2021, the three-carriage bi-modes were named the most reliable train in the same category.

With 26 million journeys on the routes served by Stadler trains over the last 13 periods, the new state-of-the-art FLIRTs have transformed rail travel in East Anglia. Trains are longer and have more seats, air conditioning, wifi, dedicated cycle spaces, and improved passenger information screens. Saloons that are light and bright and have wider aisles reflect a continental approach to design. The trains’ low floors and retractable steps have improved accessibility, and level boarding at many stations was also a first for the UK mainline network. This autumn, Stadler will start installing tables into the trains on the Stansted Express route. By the end of next year, the re-fit is set to be finished.

The FLIRT is Stadler’s best-selling product and more than 2,500 of them have been sold all over the world. Boasting high levels of safety, it is characterised by its versatility, and can be easily adapted to operate in increasingly environmentally friendly ways, including battery power and hydrogen. It uses lightweight materials to minimise energy consumption, with bodyshells made of aluminium. The FLIRT features maintenance-friendly devices and components to keep down operating, energy and maintenance costs.

Lucius Gerig, Executive Vice President Division Switzerland, Stadler, stated: “The project to deliver 58 FLIRTs to Greater Anglia was pivotal for Stadler, helping to firmly establish ourselves on the UK rail scene. Now, almost five years since we delivered the first bi-mode, reaching fleet acceptance is the icing on the cake. We can be proud of what has been achieved with extraordinary efforts and an excellent working relationship between the teams of Greater Anglia, Rock Rail and Stadler.”

Jamie Burles, Managing Director for Greater Anglia, commented: “The Stadler fleet has helped us transform service standards for our customers in East Anglia on all the routes on which they operate, providing a better, more comfortable travelling environment, more seats, and the ability to introduce new timetable options, such as our Norwich to Stansted Airport service. They are also more environmentally friendly, using electric power wherever practical and switching between power sources on the move, as well as helping to underpin the record-breaking performance which has seen Greater Anglia become the most punctual operator in the UK over the last 12 months.”

Matthew Allen, Chief Investment Officer for Rock Rail, added: “Since its entry into service in 2019, our fleet of Stadler FLIRT trains has transformed railway journeys for passengers in East Anglia and contributed to Greater Anglia becoming one of the leading operators in the UK. We are pleased that this long-term investment by public pension funds and institutional investors in these new trains has delivered such outstanding performance and results. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with Stadler and Greater Anglia to ensure that the fleet goes from strength to strength.”

Martin Beable, New Trains and Fleet Director, Transport UK, said: “There can be no doubt the Stadler FLIRT fleet has set a new standard for UK rolling stock and has played a major role in the transformation of the Greater Anglia network over the last five years. The fleet has been part of an ambitious programme to create a reliable, high-quality train service that will stand the region in good stead for years to come. Transport UK is committed to continuing to deliver similar transformational projects across the rail industry.”

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