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More passengers using Greater Anglia trains despite summer reliability issues

PUBLISHED: 14:34 14 December 2018 | UPDATED: 15:04 14 December 2018

More people are using Greater Anglia trains.

More people are using Greater Anglia trains.

Archant

A rail firm saw one of the largest increases in passenger numbers in the country - despite increasing reliability problems.

The new Stadler trains have had to be towed to Norwich  but they should soon start travelling under their own power Picture: GREATER ANGLIAThe new Stadler trains have had to be towed to Norwich but they should soon start travelling under their own power Picture: GREATER ANGLIA

The number of people travelling on Greater Anglia trains during the second quarter of 2018 increased by 4.2% over the same period last year, according to new figures from the Office of Road and Rail, the government’s official transport regulator.

The national increase across Britain was 1.9%.

There were 21.3million passenger journeys on the company’s trains between July 1 and September 30 this year – and the total passenger mileage broke the 1billion kilometre mark, meaning that the average journey was 47km or 29 miles.

Earlier this week it was revealed that the reliability of the trains in the region had slipped over the summer, partly because of track problems associated with the very hot weather during the summer.

A Greater Anglia spokesman said: “We’re very pleased to see more people travelling with us across our network and that growth in our passenger numbers is above the national average.

“Currently just over 87% of our trains run on time and we are spending £23m in improving the reliability of existing trains, while also investing £1.4 billion in brand new trains which will start to replace our existing trains from the middle of next year.

“All the new trains will be longer with more seats, plug and USB points, air conditioning and free wifi, all of which helps us play a positive part in our region’s economy.”

Greater Anglia’s new trains, built by Swiss company Stadler, have started to arrive in the region and are being tested at the company’s Crown Point depot in Norwich.

The first to travel under its own power in Britain is expected to go on a test run in the middle of the night over the next few days – and night-time testing is expected to start in earnest on routes across the region in early 2019.

However you will have to be a dedicated rail enthusiast with perfect night vision to see these trains in action – they are expected to operate between 2am and 5am in the mornings, while the tracks have little other traffic to disturb their test runs that have to be completed before they can enter passenger service on the region’s rural lines from the summer of 2019.

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