Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Rail Firms Asked To Simplify Ticket Machines

Rail firms including National Express East Anglia are being asked to simplify ticket machines as many passengers are choosing to shun the machines and queue at the the ticket office instead. Customer watchdog Passenger Focus has said that passengers were being "defeated" by the "bewildering jargon" they faced when using these machines and would rather talk to a person as a consequence. This leads to significant queues at peak times whilst ticket machines often go unused.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Possible 10% Fare Increases

Following on from our item on the 9th July about the possible scrapping of the RPI+1 cap on fare increases, reports in the press are now suggesting the possibility of fare increases in the region of 10% in the new year. Examples of potential increases in Standard Fare annual season tickets as follows:

Chelmsford - £310
Witham - £346
Braintree - £356
Colchester - £394
Manningtree - £438
Ipswich - £504
Clacton - £428

Monday, 12 July 2010

Removing Freight From The GE Mainline

Network Rail has been given the go-ahead from the Department for Transport to build a new freight line in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. Called the Nuneaton North Chord Scheme the new line will only be 1km in length but it will link the existing cross-country rail route from Felixstowe to Nuneaton with the West Coast mainline. This will allow freight trains to travel directly to the West Midlands and North West England without having to travel down the Great Eastern mainline to London as is currently the case. The extension will allow for eight additional freight trains per day in each direction - the equivalent of 225,000 lorries a year. Perhaps of more interest to Essex passengers, it will also free up much needed space on the line between Ipswich and London.

Work is anticipated to start in spring 2011 and take 18 months to complete.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

National Express East Anglia's Ageing Trains

In the National Rail Trends survey issued by the Office of Rail Regulation, the train fleet run by National Express East Anglia (NXEA) is noted as having an average age of 24.95 years old. These figures put the NXEA fleet third from bottom in the national rankings behind Merseyrail (31.25 years) and the Island Line which has an average age of 71.25 years! (The Island Line runs on the Isle of Wight and uses old London Underground tube trains).

At the other end of the scale TransPennine Express trains have an average age of 4.25 years.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Rail Passengers Could See Big Fare Increases

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond has warned that rail passengers could see a big rise in ticket costs in the new year if investment in the railways is to be protected. He said the current formula used to set fares at 1% above the Retail Price Index (RPI) was not "set in stone". Speaking to the National Rail Conference in Liverpool Mr Hammond said the government faced "stark choices" and it would be "irresponsible" to not consider charging passengers more.

The UK already has the highest fares in Europe and there are fears that significant fare increases will drive people off the railways. The Liberal Democrats had a pledge in their manifesto to amend the RPI+1% formula to RPI-1% and the coalition will no doubt be pressed on this in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Extra Trains For The Kelvedon Free Music Festival

Extra trains will be stopping at Kelvedon this coming Saturday for people attending the Kelvedon Free Music Festival. National Express East Anglia will be operating a normal scheduled Saturday timetable with additional services stopping at Kelvedon.

The last train from Kelvedon to Colchester will depart at 01:16am and the last train to London will leave at 22:40pm.

Details of the festival can be found at