Brighter future for rail passengers

THE new operator of passenger trains throughout Suffolk and north Essex has promised a brighter future for the region's rail travellers - and unveiled a new rainbow livery to match its ambition.

THE new operator of passenger trains throughout Suffolk and north Essex has promised a brighter future for the region's rail travellers - and unveiled a new rainbow livery to match its ambition.

National Express (NX) revealed that it is to operate the new regional franchise under the name “One”, although the Anglia, Great Eastern, West Anglia and Stansted Express brands will continue to be used alongside the new identity.

NX confirmed that a radical new timetable, involving through trains to and from London for the Lowestoft and Bury St Edmunds lines every two hours in addition to the twice-hourly Norwich main line service, will start in December.

The main line trains will be hauled by more modern Class 90 electric locomotives, to be introduced over the coming months, and by the end of next year they will consist entirely of refurbished Mark III carriages.


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Stopping patterns on the main line will be revised to include more calls at key stations such as Stratford and Shenfield, so enabling more journeys to be made with a minimum of changes.

There will also be more regular interval services on other routes - including hourly departures on the Ipswich-Cambridge line - and extensive investment in improving station facilities is also planned.

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Tim Clarke, formerly managing director of Anglia Railways, will head the management team for the new franchise, which will also feature dedicated business route directors for each type of service.

The new livery for One involves a blue/grey base with a black band at window level, rainbow-style panels at either end and contrasting turquoise doors (a feature designed to assist the visually impaired when boarding).

Besides retaining the Anglia branding, the main line trains will also carry local names, with the first of the new locomotives being named yesterday “Raedwald of East Anglia” after the Anglo-Saxon king associated with the Sutton Hoo burial site.

“In choosing a completely new kind of branding for this railway, we are recognising both what's been and what's to come,” said National Express chief executive Phil White.

“We want to build on the successes and good work of our predecessor companies: Anglia, Great Eastern, West Anglia and Stansted Express.”

Mr White added: “We want people to choose the train, not to suffer it. If the railway is to compete with other choices it must continually improve on its quality, reliability and customer service.

“We've planned this new franchise to serve both the passengers travelling along the radial routes into central London, and to also create new travel opportunities for East London and East Anglia.”

Transport Secretary Alistair Darling, who performed the train naming ceremony at Liverpool Street yesterday, welcomed the launch of One as the first in the new generation of franchises proposed by the Strategic Rail Authority.

The aim is to create a single train operator at each of the main London termini and to introduce more tightly drawn performance requirements.

NX has been awarded the Liverpool Street franchise for an initial period of seven years, with an automatic three-year extension if it meets quality standards.

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