Greater Anglia ready to speed up services with new trains next year
- Credit: Archant
Bosses at Greater Anglia insist they are all set to introduce their “Ipswich in 60” pledge on two trains a day on the London line next year.
The pledge is a commitment on their new franchise which came in at the end of 2016 – but doubts were raised over the weekend over fears that Network Rail problems could prevent that and a “Norwich in 90” pledge being honoured.
A spokeswoman for Greater Anglia said managers and train planners were confident the pledge would be met.
She said: “We are talking to Network Rail all the time and the new trains that are needed to meet that commitment are currently being built – there really are no worries on that.”
The new Intercity trains that will run between Norwich and Liverpool Street are currently being built by Stadler at the company’s Swiss factory.
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They are starting to take shape and the first complete units should be delivered to Greater Anglia at the end of this year or the very start of 2019.
They will be tested on the local tracks and the first are due to enter passenger service from the start of the May 2019 timetable.
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The Great Eastern Main Line Taskforce is now chaired by Witham MP Priti Patel who said she was seeking assurances that infrastructure upgrades on the line would be completed in time for the new trains’ arrival.
She said: “The GEML has historically received the lowest level of investment over the years and yet passengers are paying some of the highest fares nationally, subsidising the rest of the rail network.
“In 2015, East Anglia was one of only two net contributor regions to the Treasury and given the considerable funds that GEML commuters have returned to the Exchequer over the years, it is crucial that they see this money coming back.
“I have urged the Department for Transport, Network Rail and Greater Anglia to continue to work together to ensure that the plans to cut journey times and ease overcrowding are completed within the original timeframe.
“As chair of the taskforce, I will continue to hold all three to account and continue to make the case for greater investment in the line.”
Greater Anglia is due to replace all the current trains on its mainline, suburban and local services by the end of 2020.