October 31 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
All 40 of the four-carriage Class 365 trains which operate on the King’s Lynn to London King’s Cross line are being updated by Bombardier Transportation through an investment by Eversholt Rail, which leases the trains to First Capital Connect.
The updated trains have new seat upholstery, new flooring and have been refurbished to give them a more modern appearance. Each train has also been through a major engineering overhaul to make it more reliable.
Two upgraded trains are already in service and shuttling between London and West Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, with stops at Downham Market, Littleport, Waterbeach and Ely, and the rest are set to be rolled out at four-week intervals until the end of 2015.
First Capital Connect managing director David Statham said the trains were about 20 years old but would last another 10 to 20 years. He said it would have cost a lot more than £31m to introduce new trains onto the route.
Feedback from the new trains, the first of which started operating in January and the second from yesterday, has been good with passengers saying it was like travelling on a new train, he said. The travel times will remain the same.
He added: “Later trains going through the refresh programme will also get improved on-board information.”
The interior of the train I travelled on certainly looked cleaner and more comfortable, and more in line with the standards on the continent, and the whole experience seemed quite stress-free. Passengers on the train said it was a nicer experience than before.
First Capital Connect has also announced research investment into Cambridge-based charity Red Balloon, which also has a centre in Norwich. Five of the children based at the centre in Earlham Road, Norwich were treated to a day out in Cambridge yesterday. One of the refurbished Class 365 trains was also named Red Balloon in honour of the charity’s work with bullied children.
The charity’s chief executive and founder, Dr Carrie Herbert, said: ”With the support of First Capital Connect, Network Rail, Eversholt Rail and Bombardier, Red Balloon is commissioning ground-breaking research to quantify the financial benefit to society of recovering severely bullied children.”
For more information about Red Balloon visit www.redballoonlearner.org.uk/
Have you travelled on one of the refurbished trains in West Norfolk? What was the experience like for you? Email reporter David Bale at email@example.com