Monday, 23 December 2013

Fare Increases Announced

The expected fare increases in the region have been announced. Annual season ticket examples as follows:

  • Colchester £4,690 (up from 4,556 - increase of 2.72%)
  • Clacton £5,152 (up from £4,984 - increase of 4.1%)
  • Harwich £5,312 (up from 5,104 - increase of 4.07%)
  • Manningtree £5,232 (up from £5,060 - increase of 3.4%)

Saturday, 7 December 2013

ERUF Update

We at ERUF have been slow recently to update this website  to tell readers about what we are doing.  Rest assured we are well aware of what is going on, and do monitor Twitter feeds to find out what train commuters are saying about the service.  Committee members all use Greater Anglia train services on a fairly regular basis and about half are daily commuters.

Behind the scenes we have been working with local MPs, Essex County Council and Greater Anglia to develop the East Anglia Rail Manifesto, a call for serious investment in the trains and infrastructure in the Greater Anglia Franchise area.  This has been well received by the Department for Transport and by government ministers.   We are in direct contact with civil servants who are well aware that the train service is not what it should be.

Part of the problem is that government interference in the franchising process has led to a ten year period of decline; first National Express East Anglia (formerly 'one') (2003 to 2012) was a “plain vanilla” franchise, let on the cheap with no money for any sort of investment.  This has been followed by the Greater Anglia franchise, which was to last for two years, and will now probably be let for a further two years.   These short franchises are far too short for any real investment to be made in improving an already run down train service.  Patch and mend can only work for so long, and the results are plain to see.

We are meeting again with civil servants in the coming week and are pressing for major refurbishment of the existing train fleet and for the class 387 trains currently being built for Thameslink to be transfered to our line once new trains are delivered for Thameslink in 2018.  Class 387 trains will be similar to the Stansted Express fleet, but will be capable of 110mph.   We also want the class 360 (plug door) trains to be upgraded for 110mph running.  We believe that many of the class 321 sliding door trains should be displaced as they would be more suitable for use on newly electrified lines in the Cardiff or Manchester areas where they would replace short diesel trains.  We will also be pushing for the improvements listed in the East Anglia Rail Manifesto.   We have the full support of Essex County Council in what we proposing.

Friday, 8 November 2013

New MD for Greater Anglia

Abellio, the parent company of Greater Anglia, this afternoon issued the following press release:


Following the conclusion of a rigorous selection process, Abellio UK has selected Jamie Burles to succeed Ruud Haket as Managing Director of the Abellio Greater Anglia franchise.

Commenting on the appointment, Abellio UK Managing Director Dominic Booth said: “We are delighted to appoint Jamie as MD of the Abellio Greater Anglia business. Ruud and the team have done an amazing job in a very short time, and we were determined to find a replacement with the calibre and inspirational qualities to maintain the momentum for change and improvement across the whole franchise. Jamie will do just that.”

Jamie is a Bid Director at Abellio UK, where he is currently managing the company’s bid for the new Thameslink franchise. He will continue in that role until the decision on franchise award, and will take the reins at Abellio Greater Anglia on 1 April 2014.

Commenting on his appointment, Jamie said “I’m looking forward immensely to being part of what is already a very dynamic and successful team at Abellio Greater Anglia. Building on the impressive start they have made, and delivering even more exciting improvements for passengers will be my sole focus. Abellio Greater Anglia serves one of the fastest growing regions in the country, and a modern, efficient, attractive rail network will be crucial to sustaining that growth.”

Prior to joining Abellio UK, Jamie had experience as an MD in the healthcare sector and Commercial Director roles within Northern Rail, Vax and Midland Mainline.

Ruud Haket will leave the business at the end of January 2014. Adam Golton, currently Finance Director of Abellio Greater Anglia, will be appointed Interim Managing Director to provide continuity until Jamie arrives. "

Sunday, 27 October 2013

No Trains Before 9am on 28th October

Due to the forecast storm approaching the region, Greater Anglia have issued the following statement:

"On Monday 28th October Greater Anglia will be suspending services on all Greater Anglia routes until 09:00. Customers are advised not to attempt to travel before 09:00.

We have worked with Network Rail and our plans are based on the high winds of up to 75mph forecast across our region early on Monday morning which presents a significant risk of falling trees/branches, damage to railway equipment and will severely limit our ability to safely and quickly respond to any incidents which may occur.
We will be working with Network Rail throughout the night to ensure that the railway is open as soon as possible on Monday morning but we need to undertake checks across every area of our routes in order to ensure that services can run safely. We are working closely with Network Rail to deploy additional staff across the network overnight and throughout the early morning.
From 09:00 we will look to run a reduced service on all lines but we expect there to be significant disruption to services throughout the day.
We will update our website ( and our Twitter feed (@greateranglia) throughout the morning with the latest advice and information. Customers are strongly advised to check the latest travel information before setting out.
Customers with Greater Anglia tickets dated for travel on Monday 28th October can travel on Sunday 27th and Tuesday 29th October. Customers with Advanced Purchase tickets dated for Sunday 27th are advised that restrictions on the time of travel are suspended.
Other operators across South East England are likely to be affected and details of their services are available here"

Monday, 26 August 2013

Greater Anglia Nominated For Top Award

Greater Anglia has been nominated for Rail Operator Of The Year award at the National Transport Awards.  Among the reasons fro being nominated are:

  • Best punctuality ever seen in this region
  • Improved ticketing service
  • Service provided during the Olympics
  • The alliance with Network Rail resulting in fewer weekend disruptions

The winner will be announced at the awards ceremony in October.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Ticket Office Availability

A number of ERUF members are reporting that ticket offices are closed more and more often in recent months.  Have you been affected? Let us know at

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Class 321 Refurbishment

An advertisement in RAIL magazine from Evershot Rail suggests they will be refurbishing the Class 321 fleet for Greater Anglia.  The 321 trains are the older sliding door units that form the backbone of outer suburban services between Ipswich and London including branch services to Clacton, Walton, Harwich and Braintree.

The Advertisement says "coming soon" and promises "modern seat design; Bright, quiet and comfortable environment; Air conditioning, LED lighting and new windows."

Watch this space....

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Tweet The Manager

Greater Anglia will be holding another Tweet The Manager session with station managers north of Chelmsford on Friday (12th April) between 07:30 and 09:00.  Join in by following @greateranglia and using the #ttmga hashtag

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Greater Anglia Franchise Extended

The Department for Transport (DfT) has today announced that the Greater Anglia franchise run by Abellio is to be extended to October 2016.  It had originally been due to expire in July 2014.  This has come about as part of a review of the whole franchising process following the West Coast main line debacle that has seen many franchises extended.

Full details of the DfT announcement can be found here.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Greater Anglia Named Best Train Operator(!)

Less than two weeks after being voted second worst operator (worst amongst commuters) in the UK by Which? Magazine, Greater Anglia has been awarded Train Operator Of The Year at the annual Rail Business Awards.  The independent judging panel - who judging from the feedback that we have been getting from regular travellers have never been on a Greater Anglia train in their lives - praised GA's improved punctuality, higher customer service standards and engagement, and station improvements.  Special mention was made of the excellent performance during the Olympics but nothing about the poor state of the trains on the Great Eastern main line.


Monday, 18 February 2013

Which? Passenger Survey Results Different To Passenger Focus

Which? Magazine has published results of a survey which suggests that less than 50% of passengers are satisfied with the service provided by their train operating company.  This is a sharp contrast to to those figures published by Passenger Focus recently which suggested satisfaction levels of 85%.  The Which? results however are more in line with feedback received.

The Passenger Focus survey questioned 31,626 passengers in their survey to Which? Magazine's 7,500 passengers.  However the Which? survey questioned regular travellers.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Job Track Scheme Launched

Greater Anglia has launched a new 'Job Track' scheme - a free rail ticket scheme for job seekers in the region. The scheme will help the unemployed by offering free train tickets to travel to job interviews and, when successful in gaining employment, further help is available - with a free season ticket for their first two months in work. 

It is a new initiative, aimed at helping the unemployed find work and enabling them to broaden their horizons to consider employment opportunities outside of their immediate local area, but within reasonable commuting distances.  

Greater Anglia will offer those joining the scheme a maximum of six day return tickets to attend job interviews at locations within the train operator’s network and, on securing work, eligible applicants can apply for an initial two-month season ticket free-of-charge. This will provide those successful in securing employment with a month to establish themselves in their new job, followed by a second month of free travel to assist them in putting their finances on a firm footing. 

The scheme is being promoted and publicised at Job Centres and applicants meeting the required criteria to qualify for the scheme, will be able to apply for tickets through the Greater Anglia website.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

ERUF To Lobby The ORR For Investment In Local Rail

Following on from the East Anglian Rail prospectus published last year, Greater Anglia has asked over 200 interested parties to lobby the government for greater investment in the region's railways.  The prospectus was prepared with input from county and district councils, user groups and Greater Anglia themselves and is possibly the first time all interested parties have been calling for the same thing!

Specifically, interested parties are being asked to look for investment in three particular areas:

  1. Improvements to infrastructure to allow for faster journey times on the Great Eastern Mainline and West Anglia routes
  2. Additional track to the north of Chelmsford - ideally long passing loops parallel to the existing tracks in the vicinity of the proposed Beaulieu Park station
  3. Extension of the third track from Stratford to at least Angel Road and ideally Brimsdown on the West Anglia Route

As a contributor to the original prospectus ERUF will be lobbying the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) for the necessary investment to achieve these aims.

To view an ITV Anglia news item on this please click here.

Weekly Seasons - Advanced Purchase

There is a strange ATOC (Association of Train Operating Companies of which Greater Anglia is a member) ruling that says Weekly Season tickets cannot be purchased in advance - something you are able to do with other types of ticket.  However it seems that in certain cases staff can override this restriction.  Have you ever been refused such a ticket when trying to purchase one in advance?  Perhaps you could let us know please at


Sunday, 27 January 2013

Discount Ticket For Couples

Greater Anglia has launched the Duo ticket to mark the end of regular weekend engineering work, which has seen bus replacement services operating on The Great Eastern line on Saturdays and Sundays for some years.

The Duo is available from all mainline stations south of Manningtree, including Colchester, Clacton, Harwich, Braintree and Chelmsford.
It can be used when two adults buy a super off peak day return. The second adult’s ticket is charged at half the usual price.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Car Parking Charges Set To Increase

Greater Anglia have announced that car parking charges are to increase in February by an average of 6.2%.

You may remember that GA's predecessor, NXEA, outsourced parking at Manningtree, and other car parks, to NCP.  This ludicrous arrangement continues with Greater Anglia and made worse by the fact that NCP use yet another company - RingGo - to do the ticketing for them.  Such an inefficient way to run any organisation will inevitably lead to greater charges with at least three companies trying to make money on the deal.

Greater Anglia have said that they continue to invest in their stations and services for the benefit of their customers.  It is not clear that many customers will have seen these alleged benefits with their trains looking tattier by the day and performance statistics apparently taking priority over providing an actual service to their customers.

It is sad to report that Greater Anglia really seem to be no better than their predecessors and we really didn't think it could get much worse than NXEA.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Car Parking Charges

Greater Anglia has increased the cost of parking at Marks Tey by almost 9%.  ERUF would like to know if parking has gone up in your area - please let us know at

Friday, 4 January 2013

The one Show Would Like To Hear From You!

The BBC one Show would like to hear from anybody who has taken up alternate measures to combat the ever increasing cost of travelling by train.  Walking or cycling perhaps? Buying strange ticket combinations to reduce cost?  Anything at all to get round the price increases.

If you are interested in talking to them please contact Phil Holmes at The one Show on