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Pledge on Norwich in 90 and Ipswich in 60 as survey reveals concern about the plans

PUBLISHED: 08:30 26 October 2015 | UPDATED: 15:14 26 October 2015

Abellio trains and carriages at Crown point and Norwich Station. Photo : Steve Adams

Abellio trains and carriages at Crown point and Norwich Station. Photo : Steve Adams

Archant

Passengers using the region’s main train line remain unconvinced the faster services promised will be achieved, a survey has found.

Nearly three-quarters of people responding to our survey on train services in East Anglia said they did not believe the highly sought after “Norwich in 90” or “Ipswich in 60” services will be possible – despite the government making it a condition of the new franchise agreement.

The survey results were revealed after our five-part series of investigations looking into the performance of rail companies in this region. It was completed by 327 respondents – many of them daily rail users – and found barely a tenth of people were confident in its delivery, while a further 15pc were unsure. It comes just months after the government announced the companies shortlisted to run the next East Anglia rail franchise from October 2016. The Department for Transport said rival bidders would be expected to show how they could deliver the faster services.

People completing the survey were also generally dissatisfied with the current service. More than half said their trains were either “almost always” delayed or “regularly delayed”, while more than 50pc also described the price of train tickets as “very expensive”. Asked what they would most like to see improved on a train, the most popular response was “cleaner carriages”.

Abellio Greater Anglia, the region’s main train operator, said it recognised customers wanted improvements and was investing more than £36m in the current franchise to improve trains, performance, cleanliness and stations. “We are committed to continuing to play our full part in improving service standards,” a spokesman added.

David Sidebottom, passenger director at the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said passengers in East Anglia “want more punctual and frequent services and better-quality, more comfortable trains”. A DfT spokesman said: “Norwich in 90 and Ipswich in 60 are requirements that must be delivered by the new operator as a minimum. The vital improvements we are making will help boost economic growth in the region and beyond.”

Some of the online comments on last week’s train service series

Fat Controller: “It doesn’t matter which name you paint on the carriages, nothing changes for the better.” Harry Rabinowitz: “A complex and often baffling fare structure, clapped out and unreliable trains, the whole sorry mess should be renationalised!”

Old Boy: “East Anglia is the poor relation and needs money invested; not from the company allowed to run it for a few years but from government.”

Grey Fox: “To summarise: we are being ripped off. As I have commented on a number of occasions we are paying some of the highest fares in Europe for the worst and least reliable services.”

trevorwoolnough: “The big suckers here are the commuters. As I have said before, the only thing that would effectively improve this situation is to halve the fares; you would then get what you pay for.”

amsterdam81: “Still don’t understand the benefit to customers of privatisation especially when the East Coast example has shown how profitable the line could be in public hands.”

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13 comments

  • Cannot agree more with Marty, I would put up with 120 mins for a more efficient, reliable, lower cost and increased seats if a slightly slower service would provide this. The 6090 is a complete vanity project for Ms Smith.

    Report this comment

    Marigold

    Monday, October 26, 2015

  • It's a government pledge. Hmmmmm. Oh well, that's ok then. Bound to happen.

    Report this comment

    Davidbrian552

    Monday, October 26, 2015

  • It's a government pledge. Hmmmmm. Oh well, that's ok then. Bound to happen.

    Report this comment

    Davidbrian552

    Monday, October 26, 2015

  • It'd be nice to have Norwich in 120 after last nights fiasco. Left Liv St at 2030 and arr Norwich a few minutes before midnight! Privatised railways - even the Third World would be embarrassed! ;-)

    Report this comment

    marty r

    Monday, October 26, 2015

  • Can't disagree with any of the above statements, the rail system in this country and East Anglia in particular is not fit for purpose regardless of what name is put on the trains, whether Anglia, NE, GA it doesn't improve. The fares are extortionate unless you know you're travelling 6 months in advance - unlikely (85% expensive or very expensive), unreliable and late trains (55% regularly or almost always delayed), clapped out and dirty rolling stock, no seats available at peak times, increased taxpayer subsidies while private operators milk off millions in profits. Norwich in 90 is purely a vanity project for Chloe Smith to get 1 or 2 trains a day within the 90 minutes, the vast majority of passengers would just be happy to have a reliable, comfortable and reasonably priced service. It's time to end the shambles of yet another failed Tory privatisation which puts consumers last in the list of priorities, way below profits and shareholders. Create a single publicly owned, not for profit body, to manage both the infrastructure and trains efficiently, without the conflicts of interest and huge waste of taxpayers money going to leasing, track access charges, shareholders and profits etc.

    Report this comment

    RobD

    Monday, October 26, 2015

  • So Chloe's working really hard to achieve what we had 15 years or so ago...at least one (if not more) train between London and Norwich taking 90 mnutes

    Report this comment

    abitoftap

    Monday, October 26, 2015

  • You can change the infrastructure, rolling stock, signalling etc. but you cannot increase station capacity economically. Large numbers of human beings have to fit in and move safely. That factor seems to be forgotten when reading or hearing simplistic comments about how to run a railway by those who think it's all just a bigger version of a Hornby OO set. For those caught up going to London on a daily basis I really do feel huge sympathy seeing these treadmill zombies. No amount of money would induce me to do it. Quality of life and all that.

    Report this comment

    Green Ink from Tunbridge Wells

    Monday, October 26, 2015

  • Hopeful that the new franchise terms will concentrate minds and lead to an improvement for all who use the trains, whatever their political affiliations. The current refurbishment programme is a step in the right direction and trying to reduce the journey time is worth attempting. If it's hot air then they will lose their franchise so I think they will find a way to make it happen.

    Report this comment

    a fine city

    Monday, October 26, 2015

  • There are other things more important than this for the area. This is nothing more than a grandstanding project for the Tories. Waste of time and effort.

    Report this comment

    Norfolkman

    Monday, October 26, 2015

  • Piranha24 - had to change that word to get past the auto moderator but you know what I mean ;)

    Report this comment

    Mooseyt6

    Monday, October 26, 2015

  • Mooseyt6, maybe Archant need some incontinence pads or pants?

    Report this comment

    Piranha24

    Monday, October 26, 2015

  • But Chloe Smith doesnt want you to know the truth, and Archant are too incontinent to ever provide it. Chloe will get one train in 90 each way, pat herself on the back for a job well done and the sheep will vote for her again as she spews distorted fact after distorted fact.

    Report this comment

    Mooseyt6

    Monday, October 26, 2015

  • The franchise spec only asks for 2 trains to achieve these timings. The infrastructure just isnt up to Norwich in 90 without dealing with congestion from suburban services closer to London also on the line and closing level crossings. It is a load of hot air. How about we just invest in new rolling stock and the infrastructure, and achieve a decent reliable service instead of chasing after dreams?

    Report this comment

    Mooseyt6

    Monday, October 26, 2015

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

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