Thursday, 30 September 2010

Marks Tey Coffee Seller Gets Extra Fortnight

Nigel Clark, the coffee seller faced with eviction from Marks Tey station has been given a two week reprieve to consider his options. Plans are in place to spend £2.4 million on refurbishing the station and National Express East Anglia want Mr Clark to move to a new pitch at the front of the station. This move would see his rent increase from £2,500 to £7,000 which he says he cannot afford. His notice to quit expired yesterday [Wednesday].

Some 700 commuters have signed a petition in support of Mr Clark and local MP Priti Patel has raised her concerns in the House of Commons.

She told MPs: “National Express has behaved disgracefully over Marks Tey station and shown complete contempt for local commuters. In recent months, it has made no effort to consult commuters and only now, on the eve of work beginning, has it bothered to send a few people out to showcase the plans, choosing to be there at a time which is inconvenient to many commuters.

“We’ve had to fight long and hard to get National Express to agree to allow Nigel to continue to sell newspapers and coffees to commuters while the work takes place, but after that, his future is uncertain."

A National Express East Anglia spokesman said: “We have sought to engage positively on this matter and will continue to do.”

Tube Strike Reminder

A message from Transport for London:

"The RMT and TSSA unions plan strike action on the Tube. This will affect Tube services from early evening on Sunday 3 October and throughout Monday 4 October. Some lines may have a limited service and some stations may close. Please check before you travel on the day."

National Express East Anglia services are not affected although they may be busier towards London.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Olympic Boss To Head Up Network Rail

The chief executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority is leaving to join beleaguered Network Rail in a similar position. David Higgins will be replacing Iain Coucher who is stepping down in October. Mr Higgins, who is already a non-executive director of Network Rail, will take up his new position on 1st February.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

NXEA Timetable Surgeries - Dates & Times

As previously mentioned National Express East Anglia will be holding surgeries at a number of stations to provide information to passengers about the new timetable due to come into operation in December 2010.

Dates as follows:

Tuesday 5th October    17:00 - 20:00   Ipswich
Tuesday 12th October   17:00 - 20:00   Chelmsford
Thursday 14th October  17:00 - 20:00   Manningtree
Wednesday 3rd November 17:00 - 20:00   Witham
Monday 6th December    17:00 - 20:00   Chelmsford
Friday 10th December   17:00 - 20:00   Colchester
The dedicated NXEA email address to take queries regarding the new timetable can be accessed here.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

NXEA To Hold Dec 2010 Timetable 'Surgeries'

National Express East Anglia will be holding a number of surgeries at stations on the Great Eastern Mainline to provide information and assistance regarding the new timetable due to come into operation in December 2010.  Details of dates and times of these surgeries will be advertised at the relevant stations.

NXEA has also set up a dedicated email address to take queries regarding the new timetable which can be accessed here.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

New December Timetables Published

The new timetable due to come into force in December has been published by National Express East Anglia (NXEA). Details can be found on the NXEA website.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Passenger Robbed And Knocked Unconscious

British Transport Police (BTP) are appealing for witnesses after a man was allegedly knocked unconscious and robbed on a train somewhere between Colchester and Ipswich stations. The incident is alleged to have taken place after the man boarded the train at Colchester at 12:30pm on Saturday.

On the train the man is alleged to have been struck on the back of the neck whilst near to the buffet car, leaving him to fall unconscious for a short while. Assisted by rail staff he was taken to Ipswich Hospital where he later claimed that £800 was missing from his wallet.

Anyone with information is asked to contact BTP on Freefone 0800 405040.

NXEA Get Seven Month Extension To Franchise

The Department for Transport has extended the franchise of National Express East Anglia for another seven months beyond the current expiry date of March 2011. The original franchise agreement had a two year extension beyond this date but this was cancelled following on from National Express handing back its East Coast franchise.

National Express Group Chief Executive Dean Finch commented "We are pleased to have been given this initial extension and to be able to continue to serve our customers on the East Anglia franchise. We continue to explore opportunities to deliver our industry-leading rail performance across both our franchises (referring to C2C as well) beyond 2011." It is not clear what he means by "industry leading".

The re-franchising exercise to find a replacement for NXEA was put on hold after the general election following the new government's announcement that it would be reviewing the whole franchising process. Today's announcement would suggest that a new franchising process will be in place by the end of 2011 but this would take the possible change of franchisee very close to the 2012 Olympics which may further delay an announcement.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

NXEA Punctuality At 93.5% For Month To 21 Aug

NXEA ran 93.5% of services on time in the period between 25th July and 21st August.  The main causes of hold-ups being a serious lineside fire at Romford and a fatality at Enfield Lock.  This figure contrasts with 98.8% achieved by C2C (a National Express company) between Southend and London Fenchurch Street which is the best ever recorded on Britain's railways.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

NXEA Told To Remove Misleading Posters

National Express East Anglia has been told by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to remove posters at Stansted Airport suggesting journey times of 35 mins to Central London.  Journeys from Stansted to Liverpool Street take 45 mins with only Tottenham Hale being reached in 35 mins.  The ASA considered this to be misleading, especially to visitors to the UK who would not be familiar with the route.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Tube Strike Contingency Plans Announced

Contingency plans to assist people in getting to work during next week's planned tube strike have been unveiled by Transport for London (TfL). Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) and the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) are protesting against plans to cut 800 ticket office jobs, although no compulsory redundancies are planned.

Details of contingency plans for the 6th and 7th September can be found on the TfL website.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Local Businesses Fear Rent Increases Following Refurbishments

Businesses around Brentwood station have voiced concerns that rents may be significantly increased after the station has its planned £1.4m refurbishment. The Essex Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has written to local MP Eric Pickles and Leader of Brentwood Council, Louise McKinlay looking for assurances that rents will not increase in the same way as Billericay and Marks Tey - stations also due for refurbishment as part of the National Stations Improvement Plan.

Speaking to the Brentwood Weekly News, David Miles, Chairman of South West Essex branch of FSB, said “The £1.4million refurbishment is long overdue and should improve the station facilities, but our experience elsewhere in the county is National Express East Anglia uses such schemes to significantly increase the rent and rates paid by businesses in the station.

“At Billericay station a £1.7million refurbishment saw Bread and Buffers face higher costs and at Marks Tey station, the kiosk owner who has been there for more than ten years, faces such an increase in his rent that his business would be unviable.”

Three Illegal Workers Found At Colchester Station

UK Border Agency officers have discovered three immigrants working illegally at Colchester station. The three were working as train cleaners and were arrested on 20th August following a tip off.  Two of the three, a man and woman from Namibia, have since been deported and the third, a Kenyan, is in custody while efforts are made to remove him from the country.

The three were agency workers and were not directly employed by National Express East Anglia.