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Reliability, standards and profits all plummet at Norfolk’s train operator

Abellio East Anglia has seen profits fall by more than £2.5m between March 2018 and March 2019. Picture: Archant

Abellio East Anglia has seen profits fall by more than £2.5m between March 2018 and March 2019. Picture: Archant

(C) Archant Norfolk 2016

Reliability and standards at Abellio East Anglia – the company which runs Greater Anglia trains – have tumbled along with profits according to its latest accounts.

One of Greater Anglia's new bi-mode trains at Cromer railway station, on the Norwich-Sheringham Bittern line. Picture: Stuart AndersonOne of Greater Anglia's new bi-mode trains at Cromer railway station, on the Norwich-Sheringham Bittern line. Picture: Stuart Anderson

Abellio East Anglia has seen profits fall by more than £2.5m between March 2018 and March 2019 - despite an increase in passenger spending.

Fleet reliability - which is measured in miles per technical incident - has fallen from one in every 24,529 to one in 20,594.

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On top of this, the National Rail Passenger Survey has measured a drop in service quality reported by passengers from 79% to 74.5%.

Abellio East Anglia said that the year 2019/2020 would "deliver tangible benefits for passengers and stakeholders, as well as establishing further upgrades as part of the longer franchise".

Such developments will include the £1.4bn that was spent on new electric trains, however although only 19 of its planned 38 trains are in operation they have been dogged by delays.

Greater Anglia has admitted this is down to signaling and software issues.

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Mark Budden, from Network Rail, and Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia managing director, have said that getting the problems solved are an "absolute priority" and that "every factor including components of the signalling system" are being examined.

Profits at Abellio East Anglia also tumbled from a retained profit in 2018 of £3.5m to £805,000 in 2019.

This was despite a revenue increase of more than £50m from £650m to £701m.

This leap was largely driven by an increase of 7.8% in passenger spending from £599m to £643m.

Abellio East Anglia said that this was down to an "increased spend in marketing campaigns […] as well as pricing".

However these factors have been offset by increased operating costs - soaring from £643m in 2018 to £694m in 2019.

The company also increased its headcount from 3,008 to 3,047.

It's top paid director for 2019 took home £258,749 - an increase ahead of inflation on 2018's best paid boss, who took home £249,000.

The Greater Anglia service franchise was awarded to Abellio in 2016 - at which point it formed Abellio East Anglia Ltd.


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