What carriage improvements would you like to see? Negotiations over Norwich to London train plug sockets

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

Annabelle Dickson annabelle.dickson@archant.co.uk
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
9:55 AM

An empty phone or laptop battery could become a thing of the past for many rail commuters with transport bosses in talks about putting plug sockets on Norwich to London trains.

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Rail minister Stephen Hammond said he was seeking the electricity points as part of “modest improvements” during a mini-franchise agreement to run from July to October 2016.

He also hopes to see an end to raw sewage being discharged onto the tracks, a practice his colleague Baroness Kramer recently described as “utterly disgusting” and “just unacceptable”.

Abellio Greater Anglia described the talks as “positive”, but said that it was also making the case for improvements from other “stakeholders” through the Norwich in Ninety taskforce announced late last year.

MPs campaigning for better rail services and track operator Network Rail both want to the small improvements to be a forerunner to the introduction of new trains after 2016.

Details of what will be asked of the long term operator after 2016 will be informed by the Norwich in Ninety taskforce and Mr Hammond said details would be published in August 2015, with the winning bidder announced in July 2016, before it takes over that October.

He said: “We are in discussions with Abellio Greater Anglia about the direct award which will operate from July this year and we are seeking modest improvements to rolling stock where it provides value for money and is affordable.

“Negotiations are ongoing, however, we hope to improve the Mark III coaches used on the Norwich-London route and this may include the installation of power sockets and modifications to the toilets so that waste does not fall onto the tracks.”

Guy Dangerfield, from Passenger Focus, said: “If both these things, or even one of these things, come to pass, it is obviously a good thing.

But he questioned how much could succeed in the shorter term franchise.

“The long term franchise was expected to start in July, but following the West Coast Mainline franchise debacle, an interim agreement has had to be put in place.

An Abellio Greater Anglia 
spokesman said: “We’re in positive discussions with the DfT regarding the possibility of making improvements to our Mark III rolling 
stock that operates services on our Norwich to London mainline 
route.”

Trains operating from Norwich on the rural route network in Norfolk, and including the Norwich to Cambridge service, are already 
fitted with retention tanks, with the Class 156 trains already going through an extensive £3m refurbishment.

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Comment – Page 30

12 comments

  • The Carriages used on the trains are useless and unfit for purpose. even the first class carriages have seats coming appart or the springs gone in them. Albelo have had long enough to make arrangements for new carriages and trains, instead it wastes money beefing up staions to look and feel good in the hope it will stop passengers complaing about the hanging about for late or cancelled trains. Lets have something decent to ytravel in. The european railway are way ahead on train puntuality reliability and comfort whatever class of travel, oh and very helpful staff.and cleanliness next to godliness

    Report this comment

    edifir

    Tuesday, February 25, 2014

  • So Norfolk has a task force to press for changes. What is Suffolk doing? Is it just that Suffolk isn't pressing for any improvements or just that nobody cares about Suffolk travellers either on rail or road?

    Report this comment

    amsterdam81

    Wednesday, February 26, 2014

  • Many trains on other services have LED displays giving information and stops on the service. How about making WiFi on the train free for all instead of just for 1st class, after all some standard class tickets are expensive enough. These carriages are a bit old and outdated now though, theres many things that newer carriages have that probably wont be possible on these ones. Such as powered doors, how many times do you see people struggling to lean out the window to open the door as theres no handle on the inside?

    Report this comment

    Piranha24

    Tuesday, February 25, 2014

  • The Carriages used on the trains are useless and unfit for purpose. even the first class carriages have seats coming appart or the springs gone in them. Albelo have had long enough to make arrangements for new carriages and trains, instead it wastes money beefing up staions to look and feel good in the hope it will stop passengers complaing about the hanging about for late or cancelled trains. Lets have something decent to ytravel in. The european railwas are way ahead on train puntuality reliability and comfort whatever class of travel, oh and very helpful staff.and cleanliness next to godliness

    Report this comment

    edifir

    Tuesday, February 25, 2014

  • Dear John Alborough you are spot on. Mk111 carriages are the best on the railway and the most comfortable. Chiltern took them and replaced the broken chairs, new slidding doors, disabled access, bigger toilets, wifi etc all in very comfortable carriages not in stupid multiple car commuter trains that give you travel sickness. With new traction engines they massively improve the service and its cheaper than new trains as Mk111 carriages were designed to run untill 2035 with a mid life refit. But the mid life refit should have been done by 2010. Do not blame excelant rolling stock but stupid Government and poor management. Do not through the baby out with the bath water with a knee jerk reaction.

    Report this comment

    The Ginge

    Wednesday, February 26, 2014

  • What? power sockets? toilets that don't dump onto the tracks? (is there a pun in there?) WiFi? DOOR HANDLES ON THE INSIDE? That all sounds a bit 25th century to me!

    Report this comment

    patrick

    Tuesday, February 25, 2014

  • I would just settle for some basis maintenance of what we have. You can guarantee that most carriages have at least a quarter of the lights not working. How difficult is it to replace a light bulb? But then you probably have to have more than one person doing it which begs the question, how many people does it take to change a light bulb?. Having queried it with Greater Anglia, they only replace them if it becomes a safety issue. Lack of lighting only adds to the dark and dismal appeaance of the train. Shouldn't complain really I suppose. My last season ticket to London only cost £7184. How many light bulbs can you buy with that?

    Report this comment

    Clarkey

    Tuesday, February 25, 2014

  • Carriages are long ago not fit for purpose. We need stock with sliding doors on our services. Why are we always stuck with other regions rubbish rolling stock. I know of disabled people who cannot use rail because of inaccessible entrances and exits. WE ARE BEING TREATED UNFAIRLY IN OUR REGION

    Report this comment

    TP

    Tuesday, February 25, 2014

  • The actual carriages are fine. They are exactly the same as the High Speed Train carriages and no one complains about them.They are amongst the most comfortable on the railways. But they are desperately in need of refurbishment. The same age and design of carriages have been refurbished on Chiltern Railways and have automatic plug doors, electric sockets, wifi throughout, refurbished seats and refurbished toilets with retention tanks. All this equals a massive cost saving over new and potentially less comfortable rolling stock. The problem of franchise delay has been made worse by truly abysmal management at Abellio. Lets not forget they have placed very comfortable electric trains (class 317s) in storage rather than use them and just to save money while we all have to suffer appallingly tatty and short-formed trains

    Report this comment

    John Alborough

    Wednesday, February 26, 2014

  • Would be nice to have doors which you don't have to stick your arm out of to get off!!!!

    Report this comment

    Barny

    Tuesday, February 25, 2014

  • Carriages are long ago not fit for purpose. We need stock with sliding doors on our services. Why are we always stuck with other regions rubbish rolling stock. I know of disabled people who cannot use rail because of inaccessible entrances and exits. WE ARE BEING TREATED UNFAIRLY IN OUR REGION

    Report this comment

    TP

    Tuesday, February 25, 2014

  • How about less first class carriages ?

    Report this comment

    "V"

    Tuesday, February 25, 2014

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

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