Abellio Greater Anglia awarded region’s rail franchise

An Abellio Greater Anglia train. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

An Abellio Greater Anglia train. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

The new rail franchise for East Anglia promises faster trains, free Wi-Fi and 90-minute services between London and Norwich.

The government today announced that Abellio Greater Anglia will oversee the £1.4bn investment to the region's rail services.

It will include more than 1,040 new state-of-the art carriages and a reduction in journey times by an average of 10pc.

There will also be at least four 90-minute services between London and Norwich each weekday and two 60-minute services per-day between London and Ipswich.

The government said 'tough' new performance targets and an automatic 'delay repay' for season and advance purchase tickets would also be introduced.

By 2021, there will be more than 32,000 more seats on services arriving at London Liverpool Street during the morning peak.

The new franchise will introduce 1,144 additional weekday services – an increase of 13% – to stations including Cambridge, Norwich, Stansted Airport, Lowestoft, Southend and London Liverpool Street.

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Dominic Booth, managing director of Abellio UK, said: 'This is great news not only for Abellio but for the whole of East Anglia. We are pleased to become preferred bidder to deliver a transformation in rail services across the region.

'It will enable us to build on the successes of the 2 short East Anglian franchises we have run since 2012, and we commend the DfT in running a transparent and rigorous procurement process.

'Our plans will greatly improve our customers' experience with faster and more reliable journeys on new trains with higher frequencies and reduced journey times, to support the socio-economic well-being of East Anglia, one of the country's most successful and fastest growing areas.

'It will also deliver one of the biggest orders for British-built trains – almost £1 billion for 660 carriages from the Bombardier factory in Derby – as part of a contract that will secure 1,000 jobs into the next decade.'