Rail campaign group welcomes new Abellio franchise deal

An Abellio Greater Anglia train. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

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

The announcement of the new franchise has been heralded as a key win for a rail campaign spearheaded by business leaders and MPs.

By the time all the new trains are introduced at the end of 2020, there will be no traditional passe

By the time all the new trains are introduced at the end of 2020, there will be no traditional passenger trains of an engine and coaches left in East Anglia. - Credit: Archant

Mark Pendlington, chairman of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said securing new rolling stock was a 'massive win' for everyone dependent on a reliable and high-performing railway in the eastern region.

The benefits of rail improvements called for by the campaigners were set out in a report published in November 2014, which was entitled Great Eastern Main Line Report.

Those benefits included:

• £4.5bn economic benefits

https://infogr.am/d80e5fd2-8d5f-41a9-a377-3cbd937c5278

• £1.3bn of capital investment along the line


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• Journey time savings of £9m annually

• 48,000 jobs along the line

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• £9.50 return for every £1 invested

Mr Pendlington said: 'Businesses, commuters, and students at universities and colleges are among many who have worked tirelessly to support our campaign.

'Our campaign is reinvigorated, as is our relentless pursuit of a better, faster more efficient rail service.

'Thank you to everyone for the success we have all achieved so far.'

As part of the new franchise agreement towns on the east Suffolk line will regain a direct service to London Liverpool Street.

There will be four trains a day between the capital and Lowestoft using the East Suffolk Line – bringing a direct link back to Halesworth, Beccles, Woodbridge, Wickham Market and Saxmundham.

The East Suffolk line was built as a main line but lost its direct service to London a few years ago because of problems running short diesel units to the capital.

The service will use new hybrid trains which are electric powered, but also have diesel motors to power them where there are no overhead wires.

By the time all the new trains are introduced at the end of 2020, there will be no 'traditional' passenger trains of an engine and coaches left in East Anglia.

There will be three types of train running on the region:

• The Stadler InterCity trains will travel from London to Norwich through Ipswich and Colchester, and will also operate the Stansted Express service from the Essex airport to Liverpool Street.

• The Stadler hybrid trains will operate on the non-electrified routes such as the Ipswich to Lowestoft, Ipswich to Cambridge and Felixstowe branches.

• And the Bombardier Aventra trains, which will be by far the most numerous in the region, will operate from Liverpool Street on the outer suburban routes.

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