Eversholt Rail, in partnership with Abellio Greater Anglia and Wabtec, today launches the Class 321 Demonstrator at Liverpool Street Station. The train has undergone a high–specification refurbishment and technology upgrades. It will be running in normal service on the Abellio Greater Anglia network for a year. During this period, Eversholt Rail and Abellio Greater Anglia will be seeking passenger views on the many new features showcased, all delivered at a fraction of the cost of a new train.
Over the next year the four–car unit, modified by Wabtec in Doncaster, will operate on a number of lines, including those to Southend, Chelmsford, Braintree, Colchester, Clacton, Harwich and Ipswich. To understand fully passengers’ preferences and test out different options, the unit features two suburban style and two metro style carriages. Seats in the suburban carriage are configured 3+2, with existing seats refurbished and raised. The metro style, used on commuter lines, has a 2+2 seat configuration, with all new seating. Seats have high backs and are of slimline construction, being formed of pressed aluminium and utilising silicone cushioning to improve comfort. The metro carriages also feature an extended entrance area to allow easier access and egress to and from the carriage.
In addition to new and refurbished seating, the entire unit has new air conditioning and heating systems; energy efficient LED lighting; modern double glazed fixed windows; better wheelchair areas and a wheelchair accessible toilet. Most of the products and systems being demonstrated are from UK based suppliers. The First Class area has new power operated doors, power sockets and leather seats. Franchisees will determine the final scope of the fleet upgrade which could include WiFi and power sockets throughout.
Eversholt Rail is also developing a new system to replace the Class 321 traction equipment to improve energy efficiency and increase reliability. This builds upon Eversholt Rail’s earlier success in replacing the traction system on the Classes 465/0 and 465/1 electric multiple units in operation with Southeastern on Integrated Kent Franchise.
Mary Kenny, Chief Executive, Eversholt Rail, said: “We are delighted that the Demonstrator unit is being launched into service on the Abellio Greater Anglia route. It is a fantastic demonstration of the possibilities offered by quality refurbishment at an attractive cost. We hope as many people as possible travel on the Demonstrator and give us feedback on the new features and the overall experience, to help us to improve the trains for passengers in the future.”
Ruud Haket, Managing Director, Greater Anglia, said: “We are delighted to be trialling a fully refurbished Class 321 train on Abellio Greater Anglia and especially keen to gain customers’ feedback on the upgraded on–board environment. With better seats, air conditioning, enhanced lighting and improved access, the train offers a step change in comfort for passengers, as well as a valuable pilot project which can provide excellent input into potential future train upgrade programmes on the Abellio Greater Anglia network. The Class 321 Demonstrator also benefits from technical modifications which should improve its performance and reliability. We’re pleased to be working in partnership with Eversholt Rail and Wabtec on this positive initiative and we look forward to receiving passengers’ comments on the train after it enters service.”
Chris Weatherall, Group Managing Director, Wabtec Rail Limited said: “We are delighted to have been given the opportunity by Eversholt Rail and Abellio Greater Anglia to show what can be achieved in the high specification refurbishment of an existing train. Using our engineering expertise in passenger train refurbishment, Wabtec Rail has been able to demonstrate how a train interior can be transformed through fitting new seating, upgraded modern lighting, the installation of air conditioning and the creation of an improved First Class area. We are fully confident that our efforts will be appreciated by Abellio Greater Anglia customers who will experience a more pleasant, comfortable and quieter train journey.”
Passengers will have the opportunity to give their feedback, by completing the on–line survey at www.eversholtrail–innovations.co.uk, which also has further information on the Demonstrator features. Information can also be found at www.greateranglia.co.uk/class321, including the routes on which the Demonstrator will be travelling.