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22 December 2014, 07:18
A £9 million upgrade to our trains in East Anglia is starting today.
Abellio Greater Anglia's refurbishment programme for its intercity MkIII carriages see new tables, seat covers, plugs and toilets on carriages from Norwich to London via Ipswich.
Managers will be joined by members of the Great Eastern Main Line Taskforce at a special ceremony at the Crown Point Depot in Norwich this morning.
The significant refresh will see all of the train operator's MkIII fleet enhanced, with improvements throughout for both First Class and Standard carriages including, plug points; new LED lighting; new carpets; new tables; new seat covers; upgraded environmentally-friendly controlled emission toilets with new floors and new taps; re-painting of the carriage interior saloon and vestibule panels, walls and ceilings.
Exterior painting of all carriages is also being undertaken as part of a separate programme already underway.
The first refurbished carriages are due to enter service in the first quarter of next year, with the full programme completed by the end of the train operator's current short franchise in October 2016.
As previously announced, a number of carriages will be modified to enable more Standard seats to be provided - over 2,500 a day or over 600,000 a year.
Abellio Greater Anglia's Managing Director Jamie Burles said: "We are delighted to begin this major refresh for our MkIII carriages, which will deliver a significant improvement in the travelling environment for passengers on our key intercity services between Norwich, Ipswich, Colchester and London.
"I'm very pleased that one of our customers, Customer Panel (East) member Hugh Vale, will join me to formally begin work on the first carriage. It's also fitting that representatives from the Great Eastern Main Line Taskforce will be with us. We have been working together with them to secure further, future improvements on the Great Eastern Main Line and the upgrades for the current carriages should herald the start of a decade of improvements on this important route.
"We look forward to unveiling the first completed carriage, which is due to be in service in February 2015."