Manningtree: Rail operator stages U-turn over services

Greater Anglia has agreed it will continue to allow trains to wait for transferring passengers at Ma

Greater Anglia has agreed it will continue to allow trains to wait for transferring passengers at Manningtree - Credit: Archant © 2012

RAIL operator Greater Anglia has staged a U-turn on plans to shake-up branch line services between Manningtree and Harwich.

Passengerss hit out after it was announced the Mayflower Line service between the two towns would no longer wait for transferring passengers coming from London or Norwich.

The new rules were introduced on January 7 and would have meant passengers travelling on a late-running mainline service could have had to wait up to an hour until the next train to Harwich departs.

But yesterday a spokeswoman from Greater Anglia confirmed branch line connections from Manningtree to Harwich would wait up to five minutes if services from London are delayed.

Derek Monnery, vice-chairman of Manningtree Rail Users Federation, had criticised the rail operator’s initial proposals.

He had said: “It’s putting the operation of trains before the needs of the passengers.

“Obviously there is only a limited time you can hold a train before it causes a lot of difficulties, but this shows no flexibility at all.

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“There were no discussions, we had a tip-off, but it’s quite outrageous. It’s showing contempt for passengers.”

He claimed the reason Greater Anglia had introduced the new rules was to avoid paying penalties for late running trains.

Mr Monnery said: “We have spoken to Passenger Focus, who have written to Greater Anglia.

“We have to have flexibility.

“The station guards know what’s what and they should be given the discretion to hold a train at a platform if needed.”

A spokeswoman from Greater Anglia said: “We have recently reviewed arrangements at Manningtree in respect of the Manningtree to Harwich branch line trains in the event of any late running occuring to mainline services from London.

“We try to ensure that mainline services are able to connect with the branch line trains, as per the advertised timetable.”

The spokeswoman added: “Following further discussions and in responding positively to feedback on this matter, wherever possible we will allow for branch line connections to be held for up to five minutes (in excess of the scheduled departure time) in the event of a delay to the service from London.”

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