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East Anglia: Rail passenger numbers continue rapid increase

PUBLISHED: 06:00 13 June 2014 | UPDATED: 07:17 13 June 2014

Passenger numbers are increasing on Greater Anglia trains.

Passenger numbers are increasing on Greater Anglia trains.

Archant

The number of passengers using rail services in East Anglia has increased by 17.5% over the last three years according to new figures from infrastructure company Network Rail.

The company invested more than £430m in improving and expanding the East Anglia rail network over the last 12 months. The figures were revealed in its full-year results for the 2013/14 financial year.

Abellio Greater Anglia has seen overall passenger growth on its network from 105.8m journeys in 2010 to 124.4m journeys in 2013, while this year 37.8m passengers used c2c services compared to 35m in 2010.

Richard Schofield, Network Rail route managing director, said: “We are in the middle of a rail renaissance with record levels of passenger numbers and record levels of investment. This flourishing sector is investing heavily to improve the railway for today, and for the rail users of tomorrow.

“With more trains on the network than 10 years ago, there are inevitable challenges – we are determined to do more to improve train reliability in the face of these challenges.

He added: “Our determination cannot waver over the coming years as we look to restore train punctuality to record high levels and wisely spend and invest £2.2bn to improve and expand our railway for passengers and businesses across the east.”

Projects already in the pipeline include closing several level crossings, completing the upgrade of the electrification in Essex, and plans to upgrade Haughley junction.

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer, part of the task force seeking greater investment in the region’s rail network, described the rise in passenger numbers over recent years as “astonishing.”

He and other members of the task force had had a positive meeting with Network Rail this week about plans for the future.

He said: “Anyone who travels on the main line regularly knows just how busy trains are and how much investment is needed – but I am optimistic about the way things are going and am confident that Network Rail has got the message.”

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A paramedic for the East of England Ambulance Service has been suspended for six months on grounds of misconduct for failing to provide the correct care to a patient whose heart had stopped.

A 1,000-signature strong petition could not save the Ipswich free shuttle bus when members of the county council backed plans to withdraw funding for the service from the end of the month.

Members of Suffolk County Council have backed the authority’s decision to formally oppose the closure of nine pedestrian crossings over rail lines in the area.

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