East Anglia: Minister says there is a sense of urgency to improve rail services

Stephen Hammond at the Suffolk rail conference. Stephen Hammond at the Suffolk rail conference.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013
6:33 AM

There is a “sense of urgency” about improving rail services between East Anglia and London, rail minister Stephen Hammond has claimed following the first meeting of a new taskforce.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

Mr Hammond said he believed that getting trains to travel from Norwich to London in 90 minutes and Ipswich to the capital in an hour was achievable, but said he did not want to raise false hopes that it would happen straight away.

He said: “One thing I am acutely aware of is that announcements get made and then you say six months later ‘what on earth is going on?’.”

But he said they had decided to get started before Christmas and good progress had been made in yesterday’s first meeting.

Mr Hammond said: “There is a sense of urgency and something is going on.

“I didn’t want to let time go by without starting it. There are still three or four more working days until Christmas, so I thought we might as well get on with it.”

He said that it was too early to say what the timings would be, but admitted that much of the spending had already been mapped out between 2014 and 2019, but he said the Department for Transport was urging Network Rail to do things more efficiently, meaning there was an opportunity to get work done before then.

“I really want this set up so we can promise it and deliver it after the next control period.

“But I don’t want to raise people’s expectations. I want to have this group for about a year to get a proper plan worked out, and then we can move it so it is ready for investment later on.”

The working group will have its next meeting in January and the taskforce will meet in February.

7 comments

  • I agree with Disbeliever that this is a red herring. The problem isn't that it takes 1hour 10mins to get from Ipswich to London. 10 mins is neither here not there. What commuters want is to know that when they turn up for a train to or from London that train will actually be running and running on time. I lose count how many times I'm standing around at Ipswich or Liverpool Street wondering when my train might actually run and too much time sitting on replacement buses. When the train does turn up it would also be nice to have a seat occasionally too. I'd much rather be sat for 1hr10 than standing for 1hr. Short sightedness by an MP again.

    Report this comment

    Simon Eyre

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

  • This is total distraction up the wrong path! London Ipswich in an hour and London Norwich in 90 minutes are easy and achievable NOW. British Rail were doing it 30 years ago! The problem is aging and unreliable equipment and line congestion because no forward thinking investment and upgrade has been done. You can't keep pouring more trains into the bucket without some seepage and spillover. The main work is needed south of Colchester with extra tracks and improved signalling. Then Essex passengers can have stand alone services which don't block the route for non-stop Suffolk and Norfolk trains. This was been said for many many years now, but then as now, nothing will really happen.....

    Report this comment

    Disbeliever

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

  • Actually Simon Eyre I think we're singing from the same hymnbook but I wasn't clear enough. My point was exactly the same as yours, without increased reliability (from investment in infrastructure) nothing will change. A few minutes knocked off the journey time means nothing to me, knowing my train WILL be there and WILL be on time is far more relevant and important. Like you I'm sick to death of unreliability, unpredictability, lame excuses and being left to sort the problem out myself. Abellyup Greater Anglia take no accountability of responsibility and just blame Network Rail, leaving passengers to fend for themselves. Connections leave before late trains to avoid fines, and passengers are expected to sit around for the next one. Why should they? Buying a ticket is a Contract of obligation, avoided by GA by hiding behind small print.

    Report this comment

    Disbeliever

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

  • Another tory minister just 'electioneering' !, unfortunately we've got another 18 months of this !, JAM tomorrow !, everything is 'moving'..i.e. their mouths !!

    Report this comment

    freedomf

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

  • Disbeliever is dead right - the issue is capacity west of Colchester. Unfortunately the best we are likely to get is a few miles of one reversible third line east of Chelmsford, which is simply not enough (and will take at least 10 years!) However, adding extra lines will not be easy: the formation needs to be widened, easy enough (if costly) in country areas, but involving substantial compulsory purchase and property demolition through the towns. That would cause an outcry, what MP would say to their constituents, "Sorry, we're going to knock down all the houses in your street"? One point not being made is that speeding up the service could allow a few more trains to get squeezed onto the line, especially if they have better acceleration than the current Class 90s - assuming that the signalling could cope. This would allow you to put more trains over a given stretch of line (but not many more, as braking distances have to be longer).

    Report this comment

    Baptist Trainfan

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

  • As they say "Show me the money" empty promises are easy to make.

    Report this comment

    The Ginge

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

  • Oh, there is an election coming up relatively soon. Thanks for the news. I always got to London from Ipswich in about 55 mins... its a joke these days.

    Report this comment

    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

loading...

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT