More daytime trains needed for Essex, say rail campaigners

Clacton Station

Campaigners want to see more weekday trains from Clacton station. - Credit: Google Maps

Rail campaigners in Essex are calling for the government and Greater Anglia to "level up" rail services in the Tendring district by increasing the frequency of off-peak trains.

The Essex Rail Users' Federation wants to see a half-hourly service on routes from Colchester to Clacton and Walton and from Manningtree to Harwich throughout the day

And it suggests these could be provided at little extra cost by rescheduling peak-hour trains that are not so busy because fewer people are commuting.

The chairman of the Federation, Derek Monnery, said he understood that all three lines in Tendring could run a half-hourly service all day based on the existing infrastructure.

Derek Monnery

Derek Monnery hopes to see more daytime trains running on lines in Essex. - Credit: Archant

With more people working at home after the pandemic, members felt the intensive peak-hour service that ran to London up until  8.20pm may not be required to the same extent as before, releasing trains and drivers for other duties.

Mr Monnery added: "ERUF has had the policy of achieving half-hourly minimum train services on all Essex rail routes since the organisation was founded in 2005.

"This is a golden opportunity to instigate this process, as following a decrease in the number of people commuting daily to London, there are spare trains available and trained staff who could be redeployed."

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Other branch lines in the county could not so easily have services increased, he said, because they were largely run on single lines with less spare capacity.

Greater Anglia is preparing to increase the number of trains it runs next week as more people are now returning to their workplaces and demand is starting to increase again.

A spokeswoman for the company said: “We regularly discuss future service aspirations with our stakeholders and partners in the region. We’ll continue to work with them on developing business cases for upgrades where there is demand for increasing frequency and funding available.”

The Tendring area is one of the areas that is seeking help from the government's levelling-up programme. Clacton MP Giles Watling reminded MPs last month that the Jaywick area of his constituency has been rated as the most deprived neighbourhood in the country.