Watch: New pledge from Greater Anglia boss to improve reliability
PUBLISHED: 12:58 05 March 2020 | UPDATED: 12:58 05 March 2020
Greater Anglia managing director Jamie Burles has sent out a video message to passengers pledging to improve reliability – but insisting that his company deserved to win a top award for improved services last year.
He said that last year, 35,000 trains which were late in 2018 arrived within one minute of their scheduled arrival time in 2019.
This followed a big push on punctuality, which saw regular "performance summits" with Network Rail, weekly meetings at Greater Anglia where every single minute of delay was analysed to see how it could be avoided again and a number of initiatives aimed at getting trains departing from stations on time.
Earlier this month, Greater Anglia received two awards for punctuality at the independent Golden Whistles Awards, including "most improved" operator for punctuality on the company's commuter services in Essex and Hertfordshire, which rose by 13.1 per cent compared to the previous year.
Jamie Burles said: "Overall we saw punctuality rise last year - even though we had a very difficult December on our rural lines when signalling issues preventing us from running a full train service and set back our new trains roll-out programme, which I'm very sorry about.
"There have been some problems so far this year too on parts of our network - although we're seeing punctuality and reliability improve on some of our rural lines. We are keeping our focus on punctuality - I know it can be better and I'm determined to make sure it does get better.
"We are continuing with all the actions we took last year, as well as looking for other innovations that will help us to give our customers what they want - a reliable and punctual train service."
There are still some problems on rural routes - and a knock-on effect from the rural issues at the start of the year has been a slower than planned introduction of new Intercity trains on the main line to London.
Only four of the 10 trains that are needed to provide the full service on the route have so far been accepted into public use.
Network Rail is also trying to ease set up a £10 million booster fund for initiatives specifically to improve performance, maintenance work on problem areas and removal of long-standing speed restrictions
Ellie Burrows, Network Rail's managing director for Anglia, said: "I'm determined to improve performance across the region by working closely with our train operators to deliver the levels of service our passengers rightly expect.
"While we've seen some good progress there is further to go. We're upgrading track and overhead wiring systems to improve the reliability of the infrastructure across the region while also looking at how we better recover the service when incidents do happen."
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