Free WiFi is now available on almost all Greater Anglia trains, the TOC has announced. GA, a joint venture between Abellio, the international arm of the state-owned Dutch national rail operator (60%), and the Japanese company Mitsui (40%) has reportedly spent £4.8 million on retrofitting its current fleet of 840 carriages. This is in spite of the imminent arrival of new WiFi-equipped rolling stock.
Greater Anglia operates trains in and out of London’s Liverpool Street Station, across Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and parts of Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire. It also operates many regional services throughout the East of England. The WiFi services are provided by Icomera on some of the trains and the Ultimate Renaissance Group on the remainder.
Today’s news means that around 907,000 passengers a month are now able to connect their laptops and other devices to the Internet on the Greater Anglia trains. The project has taken over a year and, according to local news reports, has involved a bespoke installation on four different types of train, using more than 18km of Ethernet cable. The installation is now complete.
Greater Anglia is just beginning the process of replacing its trains with 1,043 new carriages. These are mainly being supplied by Bombardier, which has the contract to build 111 Aventra electric multiple units. Stadler is also supplying 58 FLIRT electric multiple units. The new trains are being phased in by September 2020. GA’s franchise agreement stipulated that there will be free WiFi for all passengers on trains and at stations.
The trains included in the rollout are:
Intercity trains, which operate between Norwich and London Liverpool
Greater Anglia’s Class 321 trains run between Southend, Clacton, Colchester and Liverpool Street.
The Class 360 and Class 317 trains operate commuter services in Essex, Hertfordshire, and between Cambridge to Liverpool Street.
However, it appears some of the older stock on the Cambridge to London route remains without WiFi, at least until the summer, when they will be replaced by the newer trains.
On-board WiFi, trackside networks, the growing market for passenger WiFi services and on-board entertainment will be the main subjects of BWCS’s WiFi on Trains Conference 2019 on the 4th and 5th of June.
The 2019 conference (www.Traincomms2019.com ) is sponsored by Icomera, Nomad Digital, Fluidmesh, RADWIN and BAI Communications.