Abellio, the fully owned subsidiary of Dutch Railways, took over the Greater Anglia Franchise from February 5, with mixed results in their first rush hour.
Abellio Greater Anglia Limited has started operating the Greater Anglia (Short) franchise albeit with mixed results on Sunday 5 February 2012. It will operate for 29 months running services across Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. The franchise will obviously play a key transport role for the London 2012 Games running many services to Stratford, the Olympic Park and Lea Valley areas. The franchise will be renewed in July 2014 with a 15 year deal to be won.
Greater Anglia has promised to provide better station and ticket facilities and measures to improve passenger information including by text. New information desks will be provided at major stations including London Liverpool Street, Cambridge, Norwich, Ipswich and Stansted Airport.
The new franchisee has promised to make it easier for passengers to buy tickets, including extending Oyster Pay As You Go between Liverpool Street and stations to Shenfield, and Hertford East. Better ticket vending machines, the introduction of mobile phone and print-at-home ticketing facilities are also to be introduced.
Abellio Greater Anglia Limited has also committed to provide an additional 600 car park spaces (subject to planning approvals), more cycle storage facilities.
Deep cleaning of stations and trains will be carried out as they take over station leases from Network Rail, taking on responsibility for all repairs and renewals at stations. This is a new arrangement designed to give more responsibility to train operators.
Greater Anglia employs 3,000 people to operate 1,900 services per day or 43,000 services per month and carries two million passengers per week.
Abellio say that they are committed to delivering public transport services
that serve our clients and consistently exceed our passengers’ and stakeholders’ expectations. We aim to achieve this by focussing on:
Improving the on board travel experience, punctuality and availability of trains.
Improving facilities at stations with a focus on comfort, safety and security.
Becoming a major contributor within the communities we serve.
Begin joining up rail services with other modes of transport.
Dominic Booth, Managing Director, UK Abellio Group comments: “The Greater Anglia executive team will be leading this short franchise to deliver the proposals made within the bid with a focus on delivering improvements in customer service, station condition and operational performance.
I am confident that the Greater Anglia Executive team has the skills and experience to deliver these plans and also look towards the future franchise opportunity by developing a deeper understanding of the regions’ railway needs.
The Group continues to look for opportunities to add new and successful public transport operations to sit alongside our portfolio in the UK which also includes Merseyrail and Northern Rail. They have also been shortlisted for the West Coast Franchise in competition with Virgin.
Trains resumed near normal working in the mid afternoon after infrastructure problems on the London to Norwich line but services returned to normal by 1545hrs between Norwich and Lowestoft after being suspended due to a broken rail.
The Greater Anglia website ‘experienced problems’ on the first weekday and visitors were redirected to their Journey Check website for train running information.