Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Christmas Services

Details of Christmas and New Year services are now available on the Greater Anglia website.

Snow Updates

Greater Anglia have a number of ways of keeping passengers updated during times of disruption. With the potential for problems over the winter period the following information may be useful:

Check for the latest information and updates via the GA website at 

Follow all the latest news, information and advice live via the GA Twitter feed

Email alerts
Travel regularly? Get information about your journey anytime. Sign up

Free GA mobile app
Plan train journeys, check live train running and get London Transport updates with the free app. Just search for ‘Greater Anglia’ at your app store.

Text alerts
You can now receive alerts for your regular journey via the GA text service. Sign up at

By phone
All the latest updates and journey planning advice from National Rail Enquiries - 08457 48 49 50

Live departure boards
Live information by station available online, or via the MacWidget/Windows Gadget.  More details at

On station
75% of GA stations have help points providing information and assistance 24 hours a day.

Train Tracker™ text
Text your start and end stations to 84950 to get the next train times for your journey. (Texts cost 25p).

Friday, 30 November 2012

Greater Anglia "Print Your Own Ticket" Facilty Available

Following a successful pilot scheme in the summer Greater Anglia have now rolled out their scheme allowing passengers to purchase and print their own Advance train tickets to London and certain other routes at home, or download them to mobile phones.

For details click here

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Beaulieu Park Station To Go Ahead...

Chelmsford City Council has given provisional planning permission for a £1bn development to the north of the city at Beaulieu Park.  The scheme will include 3,600 homes and 670,000ft of commercial space.  But of interest to rail users is the inclusion of a new station that will include passing loops to enable trains to pass at his location.  Whilst the construction of such a large development will be controversial to many the inclusion of the station and associated rail infrastructure will be of great benefit those using the Great Eastern mainline.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Rail Fares Set To Rise

Rail Fares are set to rise by just over 4% in the new year.  The rise should actually have been greater but for intervention by the government to limit it to 1% over inflation - the original target being 3% plus inflation.

Annual season tickets from Colchester to London will increase to £4,556 from £4,376 and tickets from Manningtree will increase to £5,060 from £4,860.

Interestingly the price of an annual season ticket from Shenfield to London will actually fall by £16 (0.6%) to £2,704.

Wi-Fi Coming To Essex Stations

Wi-Fi will soon be available at stations in Essex.  Greater Anglia are working with The Cloud to provide Wi-Fi access to the following stations:

Colchester North, Colchester Town, Wivenhoe, Kelvedon, Marks Tey, Thorpe-le-Soken, Clacton, Frinton, Walton, Manningtree, Harwich International, Dovercourt, Harwich Town, Witham, Braintree and Hatfield Peverel.

Passengers will have free use of the service for one hour a day with BSkyB customers having unlimited access.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Information About Busiest Trains

Greater Anglia has started trialling posters at certain stations between Shenfield and Colchester to indicate which trains are busiest and where passengers may find seats during weekday morning peak periods.

If you have any comments about these posters then please do let us know at

Friday, 19 October 2012

Passenger Focus Disappointment For Greater Anglia

In Passenger Focus's Autumn Report Greater Anglia does not come out well in a couple of areas highlighted by the passenger watchdog.

Overall Satisfaction scores on individual routes in the country varied from 97% (Merseyrail - Wirral) down to 70% (First Capital Connect, Thameslink and Greater Anglia)

Value for Money satisfaction varies from 75% (ScotRail - rural) down to 23% for Greater Anglia Mainline.

Record Breaking Performance At Greater Anglia

Greater Anglia have issued the following press release which is self explanatory:

Greater Anglia - the region’s train operator – has reported further improvements in train service performance, recording its best train punctuality results yet for the four-week period ended 13 October, with a public performance measure (PPM) of 95.03%. This is the highest PPM figure recorded for any four-week period since the current franchise structure for East Anglia was introduced in 2004, and the first time that franchise-wide performance in excess of 95% has been achieved in a single period.

Greater Anglia has consistently delivered improvement in train punctuality since taking over the franchise in February and the moving annual average (MAA) punctuality - measuring performance over a 12 month average - has improved to a new-high of 91.7%, which is the best MAA figure for the East Anglia franchise area for at least 12 years.

The entire Greater Anglia network again performed well in the most recent period ended 13 October. Metro services between Liverpool Street and Shenfield / Southend Victoria achieved their highest-ever period punctuality of 97% and annual average punctuality of 94.3% is also at an all-time high. The Mainline route recorded 95% period punctuality and the MAA has improved to 90.8% - in both cases these are the best results recorded for the Mainline route in the past 12 years (and on a much more intensively-used route).

Elsewhere, services on the Rural routes network in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire saw period punctuality of 94% and an improving annual average performance now standing at 92.2%. The West Anglia network also performed exceptionally well with punctuality of 94.7% and Stansted Express 92.2%.

The improvement in train service performance achieved by Greater Anglia since February reflects the ‘alliance’ the train operator has established with Network Rail as part of the current franchise. This is providing a real focus on improving performance and when problems do occur improved contingency plans are helping to ensure that the service can recover more quickly following any disruption. Greater Anglia’s train fleet is also operating more reliably and its Class 90 locomotives and Mk3 coaches on intercity services are currently the second most reliable intercity fleet in the rail industry.

Ruud Haket, Managing Director Greater Anglia said: “I am delighted that over 95% of Greater Anglia trains arrived on time for the past four weeks, achieving our best-ever levels of punctuality and improving still further on the excellent performance we delivered over the Olympics and Paralympics Games.

“Our alliance with Network Rail and excellent reliability of our fleet of trains has again helped to achieve the best four-week period of performance in this franchise so far. We are not complacent however, and there remains more work to do in delivering consistent levels of train service performance for our customers across London and East Anglia, and we will continue to work with our colleagues at Network Rail, focusing on further improvement.”

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

No Change To Greater Anglia Franchise Timetable

Ben Gummer, MP for Ipswich, raised the question in parliament of whether the process to decide the next franchise currently run by Greater Anglia will be delayed by the recent West Coast Mainline franchise debacle.  The Minister for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin assured him that the process to determine the next franchise here should not slip.

The next franchise is due to run for fifteen years, starting in mid 2014, with consultation due to commence in 2013.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Greater Anglia on BBC Essex

Greater Anglia are due to be on the Dave Monk show on BBC Essex this coming Friday, the 19th October.  If you would like to raise any issues with the company who run our trains then please contact BBC Essex on 01245 495050 or alternatively via email at:

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

The Returns in Investing In Our Railway

Braintree council has commissioned the consultancy Mott MacDonald to provide costs for enhancing the route between Braintree and Witham.  To provide a passing loop at White Notley could cost in the region of £11 million and to double track between White Notley and Witham approximately £18 million.

Interestingly the study also showed that every £1 invested in these schemes would reap a return of more than £2.50.  If this model was applied to other areas in this region then surely the case for investment is well made?

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Reduction in Weekend Engineering Work

Network Rail and Greater Anglia have announced that there will be significant fewer disruptions in 2013 caused by engineering work. Also, for the first time in many years disruption this Christmas will be kept to a minimum.

Under the new plans scheduled for 2013 on the GE Mainline, only two Saturdays are affected by engineering work that will require a replacement bus service.  There will be no disruption requiring replacement buses from the end of March to October.

Since 2007, there have been on average 30 weekends a year requiring bus replacement services.  In 2013, there will only be 7 planned weekends of such disruptive engineering work.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Ageing Greater Anglia Trains

The average age of trains run by Greater Anglia is now 24.72 years which is significantly higher than the national average of 17.93 years.  This puts Greater Anglia (GA) in 4th spot overall for the oldest fleet on the network.  Although GA is carrying out a deep clean of its trains as part of its franchise agreement, nobody can deny that the fleet needs some significant work carried out on it to counter the age and poor condition of the trains.

'Meet The Manager' At Liverpool Street

There will be a Meet The Manager session at Liverpool Street station this Wednesday, the 19th, from 16:30 to 18:30.  This is an opportunity for Greater Anglia customers to ask questions of the station's management team.

If you are unable to make the session but have a question you can use the Twitter hashtag #ttmga

Monday, 10 September 2012

Petition Against Fare Increases

A petition has been set up on the government's e-petition website to protest against rail fare increases.  Unfortunately the wording is not perhaps as good as it might have been but if enough people sign up for it then perhaps the government will take note.

The petition can be found here

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Anger At East Anglian Rail Subsidies

An article in today's East Anglian Daily Times (EADT) highlights the extraoridinary way that passengers in this region are heavily subsidising other parts of the rail network while we endure all but the oldest trains in the country and a level of underinvestment that adversely affects the service we receive on a daily basis.

Members of the ERUF committee will be meeting Simon Burns, MP for Chelmsford and recently appointed Transport Minister, on the 10th September and this ridiculous situation will be top of the agenda.

The full story in the EADT can be found here.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

"Above Inflation Rail Fare Increases Are A Tax On Rail Users"

The Essex Rail Users Federation , of which the MRUA is a member, has this morning issued the following press release:

The new rail fare increases are grossly unfair and a tax on Essex rail users” says the Chairman of Essex Rail Users Federation, Derek Monnery.

The Rail Minister, Theresa Villiers, said on Breakfast television this morning that a 3% surcharge on fares was to be charged in January 2013 to pay for rail improvements.  However, Essex is not the beneficiary of any of the planned rail investment with all of it being spent elsewhere.   So the 3% rise is effectively a tax on rail fares. 

Even this might be tolerable if the rail service was good.  Rail passengers have persistently scored local train operators near the bottom of the national poll for rail satisfaction.   This is due to the scruffy condition of much of the rolling stock and repeated infrastructure failures causing train delays.

Derek Monnery concluded “Without serious investment in the Essex rail network a 3% surcharge on our fares is quite unjustifiable.  We are already starting to receive angry feedback from Essex rail users. 

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Buy & Print Tickets At Home

A pilot scheme has been introduced to enable passengers to purchase and print tickets at home.  The pilot will be available on the London - Norwich route, connecting stations from Harwich, connecting trains from Sheringham and connecting stations from Great Yarmouth to London.

Passengers will be able to book and pay for their tickets online and then choose to print them at home or if they prefer download them to the Greater Anglia phone app.

The pilot will be rolled out over the remainder of connecting stations into the mainline and any other routes where advanced tickets are available.

Details at

Greater Anglia Smart Phone App Updated

Greater Anglia (GA) have updated their smart phone app to add more features.  Highlights include:

  • The ability to search for stations close to customers' location and obtaining train times from that station including next departure.
  • The GA Twitter Feed is now embedded within the app providing up to date information about services.
  • Additional information for passengers traveling onwards to London, including a journey planner ad live updates about the status of the tube and London buses.
These features are in addition to the existing facilities that include the ability to book train tickets, check train times for future journeys and view live departure boards at all UK rail stations.

The free app is available on iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Windows phones.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Our Rail Problems Go Global!

Interesting to note that the media stories regarding heat affected services on the GE mainline have been seen online in:
  • Chelmsford Weekly News
  • Telegraph
  • Express
  • Daily Mail
  • MSNBC (USA/Online)
  • Atlantic Cities (USA)
  • WKZO (USA)
  • WTAQ (USA)
  • WSAU (USA)
  • WHTC (USA)
  • Reuters
  • Malaysia Star
  • CNBC
  • Chicago Tribune
  • Norwich Evening News
  • Reuters Africa
  • Globe & Mail (Canada)
  • Metro
  • ITV News
  • Irish Examiner
  • Independent
  • TNT Magazine
and the Evening Standard.

Stories about trains not stopping at Stratford (THE Olympic station!) to avoid delays, will not show our railways in the best light.  Take note Network Rail and Greater Anglia!

Friday, 20 July 2012

Extra Staff For Olympics

Greater Anglia re providing additional staff at certain stations to assist with the anticipated crowds attending the Olympics.  The 'Games Team' is drawn from the company's workforce and will see train planners, finance controllers and admin staff assisting the customer services team.  They will be identifiable by their magenta tabards and armed with their Olympic handbooks.

The Games Team will be based at Colchester, Ipswich and Cambridge stations in addition to those already at Liverpool Street and Stratford.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Would A Poor Rail Service Affect The Way You Vote?

The ongoing problems suffered by Essex commuters almost daily, caused mainly by lack of investment in infrastructure, and the ever increasing costs in traveling by train have prompted some to suggest it would affect the way they vote at the next election.

Would your vote be affected by the local train service?  Let us know at 

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Beaulieu Park - New Station

It is understood that work will start on constructing the first of the new houses at Beaulieu Park, north of Chelmsford, in March 2013. Importantly for rail passengers, initial work on the new station there is currently out to tender, so could start soon. The new station will include long passing loops to enable fast trains to pass slower ones thereby improving journey times.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Rail Manifesto

If you would like a copy of the Rail Manifesto that was launched on Monday, please contact us at and we will email a copy to you.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Manifesto For A Better Rail Service Launched

A prospectus entitled Once in a Generation - A Rail Prospectus for East Anglia has been launched by an alliance of interested parties claiming that the existing rail network is holding back economic performance in Essex, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Norfolk.

The document is seen as a realistic and technically feasable programme of improvements between now and 2032.

Improvements of interest to local passengers include infrastructure upgrades on the Great Eastern Mainline, new trains and increased frequency on branch lines.

The prospectus is being supported by local MPs, over 25 local authorities and 19 Rail User Groups including the Essex Rail Users Federation.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Greater Anglia Users The Least Satisfied

A survey carried out by the passenger watchdog, Passenger Focus, earlier in the year shows passengers in this region the least satisfied in the country.

The results put Great Anglia (GA) at the bottom when it came to value for money, punctuality, stations, how the company dealt with delays and overall satisfaction with the service.  A lowly 30% said the service provided value for money.

The survey was taken shortly after Greater Anglia took over the franchise, so much of the criticism is leveled at National Express East Anglia and indeed GA claim punctuality is up to 93% from when they took over when it was 88%.

Regular passengers will know however that there is much to do.  Unfortunately the shortness of the current franchise makes the long term investment desperately needed unlikely.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Greater Anglia Staff To Ballot For Strike Action

Greater Anglia (GA) staff are to be balloted for strike action over Olympic payments.  RMT members will vote on strike action after they rejected an offer from GA.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Changes To Departure Boards At Liverpool Street - Your Thoughts?

The main departure boards at Liverpool Street were today changed to reflect the geographical groupings detailed in the previous post.  ERUF  certainly has a view on this but would be interested to hear your thoughts?  Contact us at

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Liverpool Street Departure Boards Are Changing

Network Rail will be making changes to the main departure boards at Liverpool Street on Wednesday 28th March.  The boards will be split into three sections based on the geographic groupings of services.

Section 1 will display services to:
King’s Lynn, Cambridge, Stansted Airport, Bishop's Stortford, Hertford East, Enfield Town and Chingford

Section 2 will feature a ‘Special Notice’ display, giving our customers additional general information concerning train services.

Section 3 will display services to:
Norwich, Ipswich, Harwich Town, Walton-on-the-Naze, Clacton-on-Sea, Colchester, Colchester Town, Braintree, Southminster, Southend Victoria, Shenfield and Gidea Park.

There will be no change to the current Stansted Express information on the departure board.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

A Rise In 'Signals Passed At Danger'

The number of Signals Passed At Danger (SPADs) incidents in East Anglia more than doubled last year according to figures released by National Express East Anglia.

In its annual report, National express revealed that the number of SPADS went up from 0.44 per million miles in 2010 to 0.96 per million miles in 2011.  That works out at about 20 incidents on the entire East Anglian network throughout the year.

In 2010 there were only 9 SPADs in the region.  However this number was regarded as an exception with 2011 providing figures more in line with the norm.

NXEA confirmed that the vast majority of SPADs involved trains passing a signal by only a metre or two usually as a result of slippery rails.  Details of more serious SPADs were not provided.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Timetable Changes re Stratford

Greater Anglia has confirmed that because of some outstanding signalling equipment improvement work, the pre-advertised additional stops at Stratford, that were due to be added to the following Monday to Friday departures from Liverpool Street from Monday 27 February 2012, will now not be implemented until a later date. These are stops that are NOT there currently, but are planned enhancements.

The services affected are:

17.20 SX Liverpool Street to Braintree
17.22 SX Liverpool Street to Southminster
17.40 SX Liverpool Street to Colchester Town

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Greater Anglia Launch Ticket App

Greater Anglia have today launched an app to enable passengers to purchase tickets via their iPhone, Android, Blackberry or Ovi phones. iPhone users can also download timetables that can be used offline.

Details can be found at

Greater Anglia Starts Today

Today sees the start of the Abellio Greater Anglia franchise.  It is unlikely that any major changes will be forthcoming in the short term but details of their services can be found at

Monday, 30 January 2012

Help With Travel During The Olympics

A useful website is now available offering information about transport hotspots during the Olympics this summer.  Details at:

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Marks Tey Station Improvements Complete

The new improved Marks Tey station was officially opened on Friday 27th January.

The station has been rebuilt by National Express East Anglia with investment of £2.2m as part of the National Stations Improvement Programme.

The improved facilities include:
  • New station building situated adjacent to the station forecourt comprising ticket office, customer toilets and new retail facility
  • New access ramp and stairs to the London bound platform which has been widened and new waiting shelters installed
  • On the Colchester bound platform and interchange with Sudbury line services, improvements include upgraded customer toilets and waiting room
  • A redesigned station forecourt provides a drop-off and pick-up area, as well as improved cycle and motor cycle parking
  • Improved signage, lighting and CCTV

Friday, 27 January 2012

NXEA Come Bottom In Customer Satisfaction Survey

In the latest Customer Satisfaction Survey conducted by Passenger Focus, National Express East Anglia came a very poor last scoring only 77% - a full 3% less than the next worst performer First Capital Connect.  Rather worryingly Northern Rail - another Abellio franchise - only scored 83%.

On a more positive note Merseyrail, the third franchise with Abellio connections, came third overall with 93%.

Grand Central came top with an impressive 95%.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

New Management For Abellio Franchise

With less than 2 weeks to go to the launch of the new Greater Anglia franchise, Abellio has announced the board of directors who will lead the company for the next 29 months.  Only one of the NXEA management team appears to have moved across.

  • Ruud Haket - Managing Director
  • Andrew Goodrum - Customer Services Director
  • Adam Golton - Finance Director
  • Thijs Jan Noomen - Projects Director
  • John Ratcliffe - Engineering Director
  • Nanouke van ‘t Riet - Operations Director
  • Andrew Camp - Commercial Director
  • Simone Bailey - Asset Management Director
  • Dave Welham - interim HR Director

Friday, 20 January 2012

Rail Fare Rises in 2013 & 2014 To Stay At RPI+3%

The government has confirmed that rail fare rises at the start of 2013 and 2014 are to stay at RPI+3 per cent. The rise at the start of this month was kept to RPI+1 per cent, after a policy u-turn announced by the Chancellor at the end of November, but nothing was said at the time about what would happen in future years.

The confirmation has come in its announcement about the issuing of Invitations to Tender for the next Intercity West Coast franchise.

In a note attached to the ITT statement, the Department said: 'The ITT for the InterCity West Coast franchise follows the current agreed regulated fares policy as set out in the 2011 Comprehensive Spending Review – a rise in 2012 of RPI + 1 per cent and RPI + 3 per cent for 2013 and 2014, returning to RPI + 1% thereafter. Over the long term we are committed to reducing the cost of running the railways and the goal of ending the era of above-inflation fare increases.'

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Revised Planning Application For Beaulieu Park

Countryside Properties and its development partner, L&Q, have revised their outline planning application for a new railway station in North East Chelmsford. In a press release the company stated that "The proposals represent a major addition to the sustainable transport infrastructure of both the town and the county.  The application complements proposals for a new neighbourhood at Beaulieu Park, with up to 3,600 new homes and a total of 620,000 sq. ft. of commercial space incorporating a business park.

The station will include four platforms with passing loops that will bring efficiency and capacity benefits to the operation of the Great Eastern main line and therefore both to the county and region.  It will be a new transport hub where passengers can complete journeys using sustainable modes of transport. The proposals incorporate a bus interchange and substantial cycle parking.  It is expected that 60 per cent of passengers will travel to the station by non-car means. 

This improved facility is expected to reduce congestion at the existing Chelmsford station (which is the busiest commuter station in the Anglia region, outside London) and the reduced numbers of car trips will therefore assist in also reducing congestion in the town centre and on radial routes."

Changes To Departure Boards At Liverpool Street

Network Rail, NXEA and Atos are making plans to change the information currently displayed on the main departure boards at Liverpool Street.  The main board will be split into 3 sections as follows:

Section 1 will display services to: King’s Lynn,Cambridge, Stansted Airport, Bishop's Stortford, Hertford East, Enfield Town and Chingford

Section 2 will feature a ‘Special Notice’ display, giving passengers additional general information concerning train services.

Section 3 will display services to: Norwich, Ipswich, Harwich Town, Walton-on-the-Naze, Clacton-on-Sea, Colchester, Colchester Town, Braintree, Southminster, Southend Victoria, Shenfield and Gidea Park.

There will be no change to the current Stansted Express information on the main departure board.

It does not appear that the actual technology is changing so the most common criticism received about the clarity of the boards is not being addressed.

Monday, 9 January 2012

NXEA 'Tweet The Manager'

There will soon be another opportunity for users of Twitter to talk to senior NXEA managers.  The next 'Tweet the Manager' session will be on 17th January between 1630 and 1830.  Train Planning and Performance Managers will be in attendance.  Use hashtag #ttmnxea