MP to meet train bosses at Greater Anglia to seek performance answers

Chloe Smith, (inset), Conservative MP for Norwich North is to meet Greater Anglia bosses. Photo: Stu

Chloe Smith, (inset), Conservative MP for Norwich North is to meet Greater Anglia bosses. Photo: Stuart Anderson/Neil Didsbury - Credit: Archant

Norwich MP Chloe Smith will be meeting bosses from Greater Anglia to ask for explanations about recent problems which caused cancellations and delays for frustrated passengers.

The rail operator endured a torrid December, with signalling problems contributing to a string of delays and cancellations.

Conservative MP Ms Smith, who retained her Norwich North seat at last month's general election, will meet Greater Anglia bosses on Friday to discuss the problems, general performance and to seek assurances over the Norwich in 90 campaign which she spearheaded.

Hundreds of trains were cancelled last month as Greater Anglia and Network Rail investigated signalling problems, with particular disruption on services from Norwich to north Norfolk.

The investigation was triggered after a near miss, when one of the new 755 Stadler Greater Anglia trains almost hit two cars at Thorpe End level crossing.

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The near tragedy led to trains running at a reduced speed on the Norwich to Sheringham line and weeks of delays, while investigations were carried out.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch is probing what happened, but it also meant tests had to be carried out whether the new trains were causing an issue.

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Greater Anglia said those tests established all trains that use that line, old diesel units and freight trains travelling to North Walsham - had been affected by it, so it was not a problem with the new trains.

But the problems delayed the commissioning of new trains and training of drivers.

Ms Smith will be asking for further about those issues and also the performance of the Norwich in 90 services.

The Norwich in 90 services were launched in May last year, providing the fastest ever link between the city and the capital, but services are frequently late or cancelled.

However, there was better news this week, when the first of the new Inter City trains ran on the line between Norwich and London Liverpool Street.

Ms Smith said: "I'm carrying on my campaign to have a faster, more reliable train service that will help today's passengers and bring tomorrow's jobs to Norwich.

"There have been big wins but there's more to do. This meeting is to get some answers on recent performance and look at what needs to be done next."

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