Greater Anglia – Stadler Trains

** And an update on the below, a few months on and many more journeys into using these trains. I must admit that I like seeing them on the network, primarily as it means that there’s more space on them so I can get a seat. I also like their multi-level structure, it adds some character. I’m still not sure I like the single power point between two seats though, and the heater on the floor is a minor obstruction and can be quite hot. Having seen the Azuma trains operated by LNER, they seem to be better designed in terms of at-seat customer comfort, something I’d hoped that these trains would be as well. So, I’m growing to like these trains, but I’m still not entirely sold on them. But I keep doing my best to like Greater Anglia as so often they can be brilliant. And at other times, perhaps they’re not quite as good as I’d like. If it was a choice of reversing the huge price rises on Anglia Plus Rover tickets and having the old trains, or paying the extra and having these new trains, I’d rather return to how things were.

I hadn’t expected a Stadler train to appear at Wymondham railway station, hence my not very impressive photo. Anyway, this is my first time on board one of Greater Anglia’s Stadler trains, running from Norwich to Cambridge.

And, I declare a slight bias that Greater Anglia were one of my favourite companies. But this train is nothing like what was promised to me a few years ago by staff. There were going to be no price rises, there was going to be excellent wi-fi, plugs at every seat and more tables.

On the plugs at every seat, there’s one wi-fi and one normal plug socket. That’s not ideal and isn’t what I’ve seen on other trains across the European Union.

I got a table, but there don’t seem to be any more on board than before. I suppose technically there will on average be more carriages, so by default more tables, but it’s not quite what I was led to believe.

The seat heads are cheap and have already become stained.

I do like this though, very clear.

The seats are worse than the previous ones, the armrest has been shrunk in size and there’s a plug socket behind my knee on one side and a large air conditioning / heating block by my other knee. It seems a really clunky design, a beautiful train technically let down by some really cheap interior fitting quality.

I will though credit Greater Anglia with the investment, as technically these seem to be decent units and so punctuality will improve. That is an appealing thought, as the delays were becoming too frequent across the Greater Anglia network.

The train at the station. I will also say that I think disabled access has been hugely improved, which is a big advantage for many people. The current trains were quite difficult to manoeuvre around, so the accessibility improvements are notable.

Technically, the train’s wi-fi isn’t functional and I can’t see any improvement in phone signal, which the meshed window is meant to deliver. I do though note that the tickets I buy have gone up 24% in price since last year and I’m unsure what extra benefit I’m getting from that. I’m a little disappointed in Jamie Burles if I’m being honest about a whole host of things about Greater Anglia, a company which seems in decline from my experience as a passenger.