New TfLRail Train Launches 22/06/17
Officially the Elizabeth Line doesn't launch until December 2018 but TfL are introducing the new trains under the TfLRail branding from today. There's only one unit in service at the moment and its not even running on an advertised service. TfL have added a special service on the line. Currently its M-F only 10.30 Liverpool Street to Shenfield and it returns at 11.39 Shenfield to Liverpool Street. I can only assume that its to test the unit under real operational conditions and the will add in further units once they are commissioned and replace the current BR Class 315's in service two at a time as the BR Class 345 is twice the length of the old trains.
I took the opportunity to take a ride on the second day of service. I got delayed on my bus and saw the train leave platform 8 at Stratford as I got to the top of the stairs. A bit of quick thinking and I went over to platform 10 and jumped on an Abellio service to Colchester Town and got off at Romford having passed the TfL Rail some 5 minutes earlier further back along the route.
The train design is typical of the new Bombardier designs and functional inside. The 2+2 seating is as hard as a rock as just as dreadful to sit on as the other units of the Electrostar family of trains. See Wikipedia for the class specifics. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aventra These trains are the replacement design for the Electrostar https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrostar and seem to share some of the internal design concepts that Siemens have installed on their Desiro Class for UK Train Operating Companies.including the rock hard highback 2+2 seatings. If you get the chance try and grab one of the transverse low back seats that face inwards across the coaches as these seem to be much more comfortable IMHO.
TfL have ensured that they are disabled friendly with lots of dedicated wheelchair spaces along with an audio and visual display system that is generationally a leap forward from the current dot matrix designs on the older trains.
The journey was very smooth with hardly any sign of hard braking though the insides of the coaches because noticeably noisier as the trains went over points or crossovers. Some further thought into noise transmission into the trains would have helped with this. There are three pairs of entry doors per coach which is 50% more than on the older trains which makes for entry and exit times being greatly reduced. It also means that there should be less of a fight getting past those idiots who insist on standing in the doors when they are travelling more than a couple of stops.
Here are a selection of the pictures I took on my two journey excursion earlier today. One word of warning due to Network Rail not having completed the platform extension works at lots of the stations the last two pairs of doors in the final end coach are locked out of use during the journey for safety reasons.
|BR Class 315 at Romford Waiting Its Pension To Arrive|
|Broken Down Greater Anglia Class 1 Express stuck in Platform 4 at Shenfield|