Commuter sends diary of complaints to Greater Anglia

Norfolk commuter Nick Hannant who is compiling a diary of his delayed journeys with Greater Anglia. Photo: Steve Adams Norfolk commuter Nick Hannant who is compiling a diary of his delayed journeys with Greater Anglia. Photo: Steve Adams

Saturday, February 22, 2014
12:01 PM

A commuter has become so fed up with delays and cancellations on the Lowestoft to Norwich line, he has started keeping a diary of his experiences.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

Selection of entries in Nick Hannant’s rail service diary

Wednesday, Feb 5: Cantley to Norwich 08:16: delayed, 45 mins late to work

Thursday, Feb 6: Cantley to Norwich 09:17: cancelled, 1 hour late to work.

Friday, Feb 7: Cantley to Lowestoft 08:06: cancelled, missed Doctors appointment

Tuesday 11th Feb - Norwich to Cantley, 17:50: one carriage at rush hour

Thursday, Feb 13: Cantley to Norwich, 08:16: delayed, 30 mins late for work

Thursday, Feb 13: Norwich to Cantley, 17:50: cancelled due to driver colliding with another train at the station, 2 hours late home, additional 2 hours and inconvenience paid to childminder

Monday, Feb 17: Cantley to Norwich 08:16: cancelled, 1 hour 45 mins late for meeting with client.

Monday, Feb 17: Norwich to Cantley, rush hour train, one carriage laid on people crammed onto the train in an uncomfortable manner.

Monday 17th was clearly a particularly bad day for the company, I was required in Norwich for 09:00 to attend an important meeting only to arrive at the station, wait 30 mins for a train that had been cancelled, nobody informed me the train was cancelled and I only discovered it had been by calling my wife. I then attempted to get the attention of the gentleman working in the manned crossing station however he neither told us the train was cancelled or could inform us if the next one was on time.

I duly got to Norwich via taxi costing me £20 to attend my meeting, for which I was late.

I proceeded to get the train home after the shambles of the morning only to find they had laid a single carriage on from Norwich to Lowestoft 17:50 at rush hour and half-term for the children. The train resembled something out of a developing country rather than Britain with people crammed into the smallest of spaces, eyeball to eyeball.

Nick Hannant, 28, says that over the last four months the Greater Anglia service had deteriorated and became so exasperated that three weeks ago he decided to start logging every problem he had on his commute from Cantley to Norwich.

“I am your stereotypical Englishman who grins and bears it and puts up with things,” he said.

“But with the trains, it has got to such a point and the service is so poor, that I cannot put up with it any more.”

Mr Hannant, who works for a Norwich-based insurance company, said he has experienced problems three out of the five days a week he uses the service.

Since he started the diary, delays and cancellations on the line have made him late for work, late for meetings, late home, he has missed a doctor’s appointment and had to pay an additional two hours of childcare.

Mr Hannant estimates he has lost up to £300 in buses and taxis he has had to rely on and rail tickets he has not been able to use.

“How Greater Anglia can regularly increase fares for the service provided is a mystery,” he said.

“The current service is sub-standard, continuously late and quite frankly an embarrassment. My diary clearly shows cancellations, late trains and insufficient carriages is a regular occurance.”

Mr Hannant sent his log of complaints to Greater Anglia and at the time of speaking to the EDP, had received no response.

He explained his complaints were not about financial compensation, but about having a reliable service to use to get to and from work.

Mr Hannant said he was lucky he worked for an ‘understanding company’ but that fellow commuters were not as fortunate.

One had even been given a disciplinary hearing for being late because of problems with the trains.

“I would like Greater Anglia to adhere to the services they offer,” said Mr Hannant.

“I use it five days out of seven during the week. I am having problems three out of those five days - that’s not a great service.”

An Abellio Greater Anglia spokesman said: “We have been in touch with the customer in respect of his concerns and we’re sorry for the occasions when service disruption has affected journeys on this route and for the inconvenience and frustration this has caused. Our two-carriage Class 156 trains that operate many services on our rural routes are currently being upgraded as part of a £3m rolling programme of improvements for these trains. Another of our local trains is also being repaired following extensive damage sustained because of the East Coast flooding.”

The spokesman added that problems associated with the adverse weather since late autumn had also been a factor on some days.

“For instance, there were two separate occasions at the end of last week where fallen trees blown down in the high winds caused some disruption to services between Norwich and Great Yarmouth / Lowestoft. Network Rail engineers responded quickly to these incidents to minimise the extent of the disruption,” she said.

The company defended annual fare rises saying they helped maintain investment in the railways and were determined largely by government policy.

The spokesman said: “Any customer delayed by 30 minutes or more may be entitled to some compensation under our ‘Delay Repay’ scheme, application forms can be obtained from Abellio Greater Anglia stations, from our customer contact centre and downloaded from our website.”

Mr Hannant has now been given compensation for his delayed journeys.

13 comments

  • How many times, nationally and locally, have trains been delayed or cancelled due to fallen trees. Would it not be prudent for those trees within falling distance of the lines be removed throughout the year? Surely prevention is better than cure.

    Report this comment

    Yarco

    Saturday, February 22, 2014

  • footyboy16. you are still on here, you slated the ambulance service now you are slating commuters...we are watching you !!!!!

    Report this comment

    999gsi

    Saturday, February 22, 2014

  • I am amazed by some ot these comments, use another way of getting to work, bike! I used to commute to Norwich by train firstly,then by the "wonderful" First Bus not much of an improvement i can assure you. Surely people are not expected to bike from Lowestoft,on the A146 you would have to have a death wish! People in Lowestoft have very little option as so few decent jobs there but to commute to Norwich for work.I did it because my company closed its Lowestoft office and in mid 50s i knew another decent job would be impossible so took a transfer offerred. Couldnt move then as i lived with my eldery dad, but as soon as he went into care i moved to Norwich. 6 years of commuting is a hell i wouldnt want to go through again,im amazed some do it for a lifetime. Public transport in the UK is a joke, especially in this part of the world, Local trains are old, late and dirty. As someone says all the train companies care about is the London service, First bus is also a rubbish company, we get buses no other part of Uk wants. Good for Mr Hannant but he wont get anywhere , They should forget building this new railway line and spend the money improving local services

    Report this comment

    june muskett

    Saturday, February 22, 2014

  • The only way to feel any better about the awful conditions of the trains and the service is for more people like Mr. Hannant to speak up. Since becoming a regular commuter two years ago I have taken the opportunity to write Greater Anglia repeatedly about where they are falling short. The service is worse than places in Eastern Europe I have visited and that is NOTHING to be proud of. The cars are dirty, the trains late, there is little enforcement of behaviour or good manners - it's not for anything the late night Friday train is dubbed the ``Vomit Comet.'' I have had it with the bad service as much as the gentleman has and those who suggest that there are alternatives are kidding themselves. This wasn't privatization because that would mean we would have a choice - we don't. We have a choice of one bad service and that is NOT market friendly. I have asked why given the bad service they are entitled to only offer up a ``we're sorry'' when if we tried to ask for a day for free or valid compensation they just say, ``no the service wasn't THAT bad.'' At this point, this is just a form of managed socialism because everything is designed to separate me from my £££££ without providing a service I can feel good about. The bit about updating the cars is a folly - it will take them years to get trains made in the Thatcher era off the rails and into the scrapheaps where they belong. Speak up, or continue to enjoy your fast-food smeared carpets and greasy seats that were apparently designed to carry people who were shaped like drainpipes - not human beings with bags, big coats and the like.

    Report this comment

    chronicpop

    Tuesday, February 25, 2014

  • Makes me laugh when people complain about Rail services.. The Rail companies are not forcing you a gunpoint to get on the train and pay for a ticket. if you do not like the services provided by the Rail companies it is up to you to find an alternative means of transport.

    Report this comment

    Footyboy16

    Saturday, February 22, 2014

  • A little birds says that you are about to get a class 37 loco with two coaches and a dummy driving cab in the next month or so. So will get a little better hopefully.

    Report this comment

    Brandonian

    Saturday, February 22, 2014

  • it's easy to blame GreaterAnglia, but lets not forget it is the DfT Government that awarded the franchise, and specifies it. They should be looking at this and making sure that the next franchise includes extra rolling stock, upgrades to rolling stock and increased capacity on all lines. They won't though, they will award the franchise to whoever gives the most back, thus invests the least. Then Chloe Smith will set up a think tank who will scratch their bums and nothing will happen some more. It's loose-loose for us.

    Report this comment

    User Removed

    Saturday, February 22, 2014

  • Cantley to Norwich is 15 miles - thats easily cycling distance. Whats the matter with people these days?

    Report this comment

    expat

    Saturday, February 22, 2014

  • Those of use who do not use the Norwich - London can get fed up with the current obsession that dominates the headlines of getting to London in 90 minutes. Collectively the " rural" lines from Norwich carry more people than the London services from Norwich but get a dreadful service often using the cattle truck Class 153 one carriage "trains". The Greater Anglia management give all their attention to the London services and tend to overlook the thousands of rail travellers in these parts that only use "rural" services. The Lowestoft - Norwich services have consisently suffered from overcrowding at peak times and this has been reported in the local media a number of times. Nothing gets done or improved, even when Greater Anglia have their full quota of useable units at Norwich to run the services with. We did expect better when the Dutch took over, but this is not happening.

    Report this comment

    Port Watcher

    Saturday, February 22, 2014

  • I use the Lowestoft to Norwich service and it is pretty reliable, most delays are down to things outwith Greater Anglia control. We cannot complain about state of trains being used at the moment when the regular ones are away being upgraded as part of previous complaints. Grin and bear it possibly, or get an earlier or later train maybe. If i had vital meeting in Norwich with client, i would leave myself an hour to play with so i could prepare for the meeting rather than dash it with minutes to spare.

    Report this comment

    DaveG

    Saturday, February 22, 2014

  • it's easy to blame GreaterAnglia, but lets not forget it is the DfT Government that awarded the franchise, and specifies it. They should be looking at this and making sure that the next franchise includes extra rolling stock, upgrades to rolling stock and increased capacity on all lines. They won't though, they will award the franchise to whoever gives the most back, thus invests the least. Then Chloe Smith will set up a think tank who will scratch their bums and nothing will happen some more. It's loose-loose for us.

    Report this comment

    User Removed

    Saturday, February 22, 2014

  • But Footy, as tax payers we subsidise these private railways. We are all paying whether we get on one or not.

    Report this comment

    Jeffrey Osborne

    Saturday, February 22, 2014

  • Expat- I use this same line into Norwich, and also experience the same frustrations as Mr.Hannant. The idea of 'getting on one's bike' as a 'reasonable' alternative to using the train is somewhat unrealistic I think! I travel with a case and portfolio, others also commonly are carrying briefcases, shopping, as well as accompanying children or elderly people. Are all these people supposed to cycle into Norwich 15 miles or more? I think not. Maybe you have been an expat for too long- the roads are now full of lorries, vans, cars, etc. and we don't use horses nowadays. Bikes are for fun and exercise mainly, but OK inside towns if you dare risk it. No cynical remarks please- or should I say 'cyclical'.

    Report this comment

    Larry

    Saturday, February 22, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Norfolk Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 24°C

min temp: 16°C

Five-day forecast

loading...

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT