Future of Suffolk’s rail system to be discussed

Rail experts, industry bosses and councillors from across Suffolk are to attend a one-day conference today on the future of the region's rail services next week.

The conference will be held just days after rail operator Greater Anglia posted the best-ever performance figures for the region. During the four weeks leading up to October 13, more than 95pc of trains ran on time.

The Suffolk Rail Conference is being hosted by the county council at its Endeavour House headquarters today – giving an opportunity for stakeholders to have their say on how the service should develop during the next franchise period.

The current Greater Anglia franchise is due to expire in 2014 and a new 15-year franchise is to take over services.

The conference is due to consider what should be included in the new franchise – including introducing new trains, increasing track capacity, and increasing the number of cross-country services between Ipswich and Peterborough.

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It will be introduced by Guy McGregor, council cabinet member for roads and transport, and will have contributions from rail writer Christian Wolmar, Ipswich MP Ben Gummer and Thijs Jan Noomen from Greater Anglia.

The latest performance figures are the best since the franchise was first created in its present form in 2004 – and are better than ever achieved during the National Express stewardship.

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The overall punctuality for all trains in the region was 95.03pc during the four-week period. The Great Eastern main line between Ipswich and London also achieved punctuality figures of 95pc while local services had 94pc punctuality rate.

Ruud Haket, Managing Director Greater Anglia said: 'I am delighted that more than 95pc of Greater Anglia trains arrived on time for the past four weeks, achieving our best-ever levels of punctuality and improving still further on the excellent performance we delivered over the Olympics and Paralympics Games.

'Our alliance with Network Rail and excellent reliability of our trains has again helped to achieve the best four-week period of performance in this franchise so far.'

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