Greater Anglia Bombardier Aventras (Class 720): Technical discussion and introduction

AlexanderC

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Also a couple of Braintree services which are starting at Witham reported as 5 cars on journey checker.
 
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delticdave

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And Southend also interwork with Southminster
I thought that the Southminster 4-car pair were worked & manned from Southend but otherwise self-contained.

Most of the the through rush-hour trains seem to be worked from Shenfield, although I know that the last evg. from Liv. St. was worked by one of the 4-car branch sets.
 

Railperf

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Seems the usual 2no 2x5-car circuits were reduced to a pair of single 5-car's today.
720548 was on the 15:59 Shenfield to Southend ex LST. And Tiger reported another 5-car was due to Southend run later that day.
 

Shunter_69

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Guess they are doing test runs on the West due to the landslip at Ingatestone meaning they can’t run on the East.
 

MikePJ

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Looks like the same paths are booked for tomorrow as well, so I'll go and see if I can get a picture. 5Q52 leaves Liverpool St 1052 and arrives at Cambridge by 1234. Departs again (5Q53) at 1308, back to Liverpool St at 1443.
 

Railperf

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Have the 720's been pulled from passenger service? Not seen any 5-car or 10-car formations showing on Tiger for a few days now.
 

AS43

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The units today were 550+552 (the latter only arrived at Ilford on Monday I think). As far as I know, the 720s are off to Stansted tomorrow at 1107 as 5Q24, but usual test train conditions apply! The 720 West runs this week are ASDO validation-related, and were due to run before the Ingatestone shenanigans took place..
I went out for a walk at lunchtime and happened to see a 720 go past the end of the road, much to my surprise! I wasn't really close enough to see it clearly, but RTT confirms that there was a test or training run at the right time:
https://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/train/K03594/2021-01-27/detailed

Edit: I saw it just pulling out of Cambridge station.
 

Railperf

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Yes, Tiger showing at least two 5-cars out and about the last two days. 10-car running seems to have been canned. Anyone know the reason why?
 

47584Suffolk

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Ipswich
Yes, Tiger showing at least two 5-cars out and about the last two days. 10-car running seems to have been canned. Anyone know the reason why?

The Parkeston-based driver training runs to Ipswich/Liverpool St, etc, yesterday were down to a single 720(537) with '538 left behind.
 
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sharpley

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18 Aug 2018
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Took a wander past the Network Rail RIDC Melton site today (the Melton Mowbray end of the Old Dalby test track). Several 720s on site (plus class 345s & 710s).
720518 was the only number I could make out.

Network Rail RIDC Melton.jpg
 

47584Suffolk

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I've been attempting to keep a track on which 720s are located where. Part of this process involved the units outstationed at Crewe for 5Q30, etc, mileage accumulation runs over the WCML to Northampton, Nuneaton. etc. Judging from RTT, none have run since 18/12. Can anyone please advise whether the Crewe testing has come to an end? The Wolverton trains (5Q27 & 28) run most days. Thanks.
 

Railperf

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Only seeing 5-car sets being reported on Tiger today. Maybe there is an issue with them working in multiple to be addressed?
 

Shunter_69

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SDO Software issue, apparently more doors were releasing than should have occasionally.
 

iphone76

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Looks like the 10 cars are back today. Although the 0720 (!!!) from London to Southend was about 25 mins late leaving due to a door fault which was rectified.
 

robert west

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4 Apr 2013
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Looks like the 10 cars are back today. Although the 0720 (!!!) from London to Southend was about 25 mins late leaving due to a door fault which was rectified.
1948 Liverpool street to braintree had 720556 and 511 tonight
passed at witham by 2 others on 5q12 1050 Liverpool street to parkstone cs didn't catch numbers
 

samuelmorris

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First ride on a 720 yesterday at last. Pure chance, I didn't go looking for it, but I happened to arrive at Liverpool Street concourse at 12:46 with the 12:48 Braintree service waiting. A few points of note:

The Kiel seats are undeniably better than the Fainsa offerings of late, the seat base is perfectly acceptable, though perhaps not quite as soft as I had expected. The back, however, feels every bit as hard as it is on an ironing board. For me that's no issue as I like a firm supportive back to a seat, but combined, they certainly feel firmer than, for example, Grammer seats. Still a big improvement on both the ironing board and Sophia. I also for whatever reason found them feel slightly less narrow than 2+3 Grammer seats on 360/450s etc, sitting on the 3 side.

On a normal day for temperature, A/C noise was present but unobtrusive. Still nowhere near as quiet as Electrostar ventilation, but less noticeable than Desiro UK, that's for sure. Interior temperature seemed about right.

Sitting on what I believe was a powered bogie, ride quality was very good. There are still some pretty awful sections of track on the eastbound GEML and although there was still a lot of sideways movement on those sections, vertical travel seemed minimal and the ride was generally very smooth. Traction motor noise is an odd one as it's quite pronounced at certain frequencies (a bit like the resonance on Electrostars around 20mph) but by the time you reach 60mph it has entirely vanished. This gives a distinct lack of a sense of speed, similar to 360s but perhaps even more pronounced. Despite being seated near the gangway, track noise was generally fine, though for whatever reason the ground rail noise seemed to stick out even more than usual, whereas on other soundproofed units, that is deadened by a similar amount to the outside. I can only assume that sound is travelling through the running gear and being transmitted into the cabin by something else. It's not oppressive, but it does mean that the otherwise quiet ambience of these units is going to be determined almost exclusively by how recently the rails were ground that you're passing over.

One thing that always struck me from the interior renders and photographs of the units in service is how claustrophobic the interior looked with the vast amount of seating. Having travelled on one, however, that doesn't feel like the case. The seats aren't quite as high backed as they look in photos/videos and, at least for someone of my height, when stood up you hardly notice that the seating is so dense. I didn't find the aisle width to be an issue for me, however I have yet to try them while carrying anything substantial.

The announcements are clearly audible which is a big step up from the Mk3 EMUs they're mostly replacing given how inaudible their PA is, but they are mixed horribly. Reusing the old voice samples from the existing PIS on older units and adding in supplementary recordings over the top sounds awful. Prematurely referring to the Elizabeth line I can excuse somewhat, but the flow of the messages is super jarring as the recording quality of the two sessions is totally different and unlike with the 'this is coach number' examples on other TOCs which only appears at the end of a notice, here the audio switches back and forth between the two recordings several times throughout. Hopefully they'll do it all again properly at some point, but I doubt it.

On the plus side, the PIS was all working correctly - the displays were cycling through the stop list, destination and stop diagram, all were lit and were providing correct information. The black background does, however, make them look a bit dim, even with the white text. I think I prefer their visual style to the ones TfL are using with their amusing choice to use a high-res screen to only display two words at once, but I don't think either have the class that the 700/717 PIS does.

One of the things I was happiest about though? Separate volumes for the door sounders inside vs outside. Whoever decided to that, give that person a raise. You can hear when the doors are released on the inside but it's quiet and subdued, yet it's loud and clear on the outside of the unit. Much better.

All in all, a solid experience. I didn't have the opportunity to look into things like toilets, disabled space etc. on my journey, but I think these are decent units where a lot of things have been done right. I'm super glad we have these rather than, for example, 701s or 331s.
 

Bletchleyite

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The announcements are clearly audible which is a big step up from the Mk3 EMUs they're mostly replacing given how inaudible their PA is, but they are mixed horribly. Reusing the old voice samples from the existing PIS on older units and adding in supplementary recordings over the top sounds awful. Prematurely referring to the Elizabeth line I can excuse somewhat, but the flow of the messages is super jarring as the recording quality of the two sessions is totally different and unlike with the 'this is coach number' examples on other TOCs which only appears at the end of a notice, here the audio switches back and forth between the two recordings several times throughout. Hopefully they'll do it all again properly at some point, but I doubt it.

You can do the latter well if they are two very different voices. I find the use of male and female voices on the S-stock works quite well - if I recall, the male one gives you safety instructions and the female one gives you information, and latter day Virgin used it in a way that almost sounded like a pair of radio presenters.
 

samuelmorris

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If it's separate statements and different voices, I agree. No harm in that. Using the same voice for <recording A>"This is the service to" <recording B> "Destination", <recording A>"Calling at" <recording B> "list of stops", <recording A> "safety notice", <recording B> "rest of safety notice", it's just terrible :D
 

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