This is the first time that I’ve had chance to go on the new train between Norwich and London Liverpool Street, I seem to have caught the older rolling stock over the last couple of months. The train was the 11:30 from Norwich, which seemed relatively quiet, even though it was taking passengers from the 12:00 service which had been cancelled. The new train has twelve carriages, and they’ve been made by Stadler in Switzerland.
A screen showing customers where everything is on the train.
It’s possible to see all the way down the train, but there are closeable see-through doors along the carriages. The design of the seats is clunky and rushed, the heater unit on the side is in the way of customers, as is the table’s central support which is just where knees might otherwise go. There is now just one power point between two people (unless one has a USB) and for reasons that I cannot comprehend, plugs don’t fit into many of the power sockets as the base of the seat is in the way. I was able to plug my laptop into the power sockets under the seats on the other side of the table, but only because there was no-one sitting there. It’s an unfortunate bodged job from Greater Anglia, arguably unacceptable given the price increases that they’ve introduced which should have meant they had more than enough money to do this properly.
This slightly irritated me, some idiot putting their feet on what are nearly new seats. Fortunately, it also irritated the guard who politely, but firmly, told the passenger to stop this behaviour when he saw her.
And safely into London Liverpool Street, all on time.
The old rolling stock on the left and the new rolling stock on the right.
Taking everything into account, I prefer the older train. It’s more comfortable, it’s better designed and I think it’s more functional. However, there are two caveats with that, the older train isn’t easy for those with disabilities and it also doesn’t hold as many people as the new train, so these are two big advantages with the upgrade. It’s all very nice that money has been spent on new trains, but I’m hoping that they’re taken in for an interior refit soon to try and give the finish a slightly classier and more functional edge.