Rail services in East of England inaccessible to may people according to report

Greater Anglia train on the Norwich to London service.  Photo: Bill Smith Greater Anglia train on the Norwich to London service. Photo: Bill Smith

Sunday, December 8, 2013
6:56 PM

Consultants Credo alongside the Campaign for Better Transport found that services in East Anglia were held back by a relatively sparse network which made services inaccessible to many people.

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In their report the researchers said that although growth and usage of rail services in the East of England scored a middling 40pc, the region ranked bottom for service quality at 23pc, and network accessibility at 17pc.

Overall the region’s rail services scored 26pc, two percentage points below the next lowest regions which were the North East and Wales.

London gained the highest overall score at 59pc, followed by the North West and West Midlands.

he report also noted that the East of England received the lowest level of relative funding for rail services and was thus ranked in the ‘Low funding, Low quality’ category by the report.

The report said: “It is these regions which may be able to make the strongest case for more funds providing that they can show clear action plans for how these funds will be deployed to improve the service.”

Matt Lovering, Director (Transport Practice), at Credo said the findings for the East of England raised questions, “about how rail can best support the region’s burgeoning economy.”

A spokesperson for Greater Anglia said: “Since taking over the operation of the Greater Anglia franchise in February last year, we have made good progress in improving customer satisfaction, as measured by the National Passenger Survey and in delivering better train service punctuality.

“We recognise there is much more to do and we will continue to concentrate our efforts to further improve performance, working in close partnership with Network Rail in areas such as reducing the amount of disruptive planned engineering work at weekends, and implementing better and more robust service contingency plans when any problems occur.

“We will also continue to focus on customer service and communication to bring about further improvement.

“We have also been instrumental in participating in the work with Network Rail, local authorities and the region’s MPs through the East Anglian Rail Prospectus and its agenda to bring together stakeholder support in making a positive case for further investment in the region’s rail infrastructure, and this work is now starting to build momentum towards the important investment and upgrades that all partners would like to see taken forward. Working together with our stakeholders and partners on these aspirations is a key priority for Greater Anglia.”

The spokesman added that the survey also reflected Greater Anglia’s contribution to London’s railway system, which was ranked top in the country.

First Capital Connect and c2c also operate trains in the East of England.

A Network Rail spokesman said they were investing in expanding the railway.

“We are committed to delivering the best service we can for passengers and are investing heavily in expanding and enhancing the railway,” he said.

“Today’s railway is carrying more people, on more trains, than at any time since the 1920s with passenger numbers up 50% on a decade ago. Train performance, at more than 90pc, is at historically high levels.

“The railway is getting better and record investment has reduced infrastructure failures by over 20pc since 2009.”

The news comes on the day after Greater Anglia launched its new timetable.

The timetable is available on line at www.greateranglia.co.uk and from leaflet racks at most stations.

On the Mainline, there are slight alterations to services between Witham and Braintree; between Marks Tey and Sudbury, and to two peak time services between London and Clacton/Ipswich.

On Saturdays the 22.30 and 23.30 services from London Liverpool Street to Norwich will call additionally at Stratford.

On rural routes there are timing changes to services between Norwich and Great Yarmouth/Lowestoft and Ipswich to Peterborough services linked to the additional stops at Manea.

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