UK: Bombardier Transportation’s Derby plant has begun production of the first of 111 Class 720 Aventra electric multiple-units for Greater Anglia, the operator announced on February 20.

The £900m order financed by Angel Trains and Commonwealth Bank of Australia, which was finalised in September 2016, covers 89 five-car and 22 10-car 25 kV 50 Hz EMUs for Greater Anglia’s West Anglia and Great Eastern outer suburban services. They are expected to begin entering service in 2019.

Greater Anglia said the exact specification of the interior had not yet been signed off, but the EMUs would have a mix of 3+2 and 2+2 seating. It highlighted that the seats would offer lumbar support, seat-back tables and plug and USB points.

The interiors would be ‘light and airy’, with wide inter-car gangways, air-conditioning, underfloor heating, accessible toilets, free wi-fi and information screens indicating empty seats.

'It's so exciting to see the new trains beginning to take shape', said Greater Anglia Managing Director Jamie Burles. 'It's really possible now to imagine the huge difference these trains will make to our customers, making their journeys much more comfortable.'

Complete replacement of the existing fleet with 1 043 new vehicles was included in Abellio’s successful bid for the current East Anglia franchise, which runs for nine years from October 2016.

A separate £600m contract financed by Rock Rail and SL Capital Partners was awarded to Stadler, which is building 14 three-car and 24 four-car Class 755 electro-diesel multiple-units for Greater Anglia’s local services, 10 12-car Class 745 EMUs for London – Norwich inter-city services and 10 12-car Class 745 EMUs for the Stansted Express airport route.