Greater Anglia in £1m bid to improve service reliability

Greater Anglia train on the Norwich to Cambridge route via Ely. (Class 170). Photo: Bill Smith Greater Anglia train on the Norwich to Cambridge route via Ely. (Class 170). Photo: Bill Smith

Wednesday, March 19, 2014
9:53 AM

Rail operator Greater Anglia is to spend £1m over the next few months in a bid to improve the reliability of its services – especially those off the main line.

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There are likely to be more trains pulled by “heritage” diesel locomotives – some 50 years old – between Lowestoft and Norwich in a bid to overcome a shortage of modern units.

Greater Anglia is also recruiting more maintenance staff for its main Crown Point depot in Norwich and will have more staff on hand round the clock to try to ease any problems that happen.

Investment also includes further modifications to West Anglia route Class 317 trains to improve door reliability.

Greater Anglia will also work with Network Rail to improve the reliability of the cab-to-signaller communication system on the Class 315 and Class 317 trains used on services between Shenfield and London and on the West Anglia route.

It is also to work to ensure there are fewer problems on the Felixstowe branch which has seen trains regularly replaced by buses over recent months.

A spokesman for Abellio Greater Anglia said the company had improved punctuality levels since the beginning of the existing short franchise in February 2012 but it had faced a number of challenges over the last five months.

These included problems caused by the severe weather – including flooding, minor landslips, waterlogged equipment, and more than 200 trees brought down in the storm on October 28.

In addition, carriage availability had been hit by a range of issues including flood damage, fatalities, the consequences of heavy maintenance and refurbishment programmes.

Adam Golton, interim managing director, Abellio Greater Anglia said: “This significant investment and actions illustrate our real commitment to raise standards and deliver the best service possible for our passengers. We are investing in additional resources and putting in place robust plans to improve performance.

“Although we have raised punctuality levels during our franchise, the last few months have not been as consistent, so we are taking action to restore more reliable services and provide greater resilience.”

Suffolk cabinet member for transport Graham Newman said: “It is very good news to hear that the MD of Abellio Greater Anglia has heard our pleas concerning the train service between Ipswich to Felixstowe.

“We look forward to their improved working with NR to restore the confidence of passengers in the service.”

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