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Suffolk: Greater Anglia in £1 million bid to improve service reliability

PUBLISHED: 09:54 19 March 2014 | UPDATED: 09:54 19 March 2014

A Greater Anglia train leaving Ipswich for Felixstowe.

A Greater Anglia train leaving Ipswich for Felixstowe.

Rail operator Greater Anglia is to spend £1 million over the next few months in a bid to improve the reliability of its services – especially those off the main line.

It is to work with Network Rail in a bid to ensure there are fewer problems on the Felixstowe branch which has seen trains regularly replaced by buses over recent months.

And in the north of the county there are likely to be more trains pulled by “heritage” diesel locomotives – some 50 years old – between Lowestoft and Norwich in a bid to overcome a shortage of modern units.

A spokesman for Abellio Greater Anglia said the company had improved punctuality levels since the beginning of the existing short franchise in February 2012 but it had faced a number of challenges over the last five months. These included problems caused by the severe weather – including flooding, minor landslips, waterlogged equipment, and more than 200 trees brought down in the storm on 28 October.

In addition, carriage availability had been hit by a range of issues including flood damage, fatalities, the consequences of heavy maintenance and refurbishment programmes.

It is now recruiting more maintenance staff for its main Crown Point depot in Norwich and will have more staff on hand round the clock to try to ease any problems that happen.

Adam Golton, Interim Managing Director, Abellio Greater Anglia said: “This significant investment and actions illustrate our real commitment to raise standards and deliver the best service possible for our passengers. We are investing in additional resources and putting in place robust plans to improve performance.

“Although we have raised punctuality levels during our franchise, the last few months have not been as consistent, so we are taking action to restore more reliable services and provide greater resilience.”

Suffolk cabinet member for Transport Graham Newman said: “It is very good news to hear that the MD of Abellio Greater Anglia has heard our pleas concerning the train service between Ipswich to Felixstowe.

“We look forward to their improved working with NR to restore the confidence of passengers in the service.”

MP Therese Coffey has refused to apologise after questioning why police kept Orwell Bridge closed for eight hours following a fatal accident.

Eight fans were arrested by police after trouble broke out among a small group of football supporters at the end of the East Anglian derby at Portman Road in Ipswich.

A new Chief Fire Officer is being recruited to Essex County Fire and Rescue Service (ECFRS) – on a £140,000 per year salary.

A 21-year-old man was treated for stab wounds after being robbed in Colchester’s Greenstead Estate on Saturday evening.

A woman was treated for severe hypothermia by coastguard volunteers after entering the sea at Pakefield.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service (ECFRS) is publicly supporting London Fire Brigade’s campaign to ask people to stop using the outdated term ‘fireman’.

A children’s book set along the banks of the river Orwell was brought to life during a marathon reading hosted at a Suffolk sailing club marking 80 years since it was published.

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