Rural trains come under fire

OVER 40% of trains on two rural lines in the region are late and overcrowding on certain services is acute, a new report revealed last night.Members of the voluntary East Suffolk Travellers' Association (ESTA) surveyed 128 trains on the Lowestoft to Ipswich and Lowestoft to Norwich lines over a fortnight last month.

OVER 40% of trains on two rural lines in the region are late and overcrowding on certain services is acute, a new report revealed last night.

Members of the voluntary East Suffolk Travellers' Association (ESTA) surveyed 128 trains on the Lowestoft to Ipswich and Lowestoft to Norwich lines over a fortnight last month.

The aim was to get a snapshot of the adequacy and punctuality of trains following the introduction of a new timetable in December, which includes six new direct trains each way between Lowestoft and London Liverpool Street.

The report reveals that just 58% arrived on time or slightly early and on only 60% were there adequate seats.

ESTA was also particularly concerned that on some of these trains, the conductor was unable to inspect all tickets, collect all fares and deal with passengers' queries.

Trevor Garrod, ESTA chairman, who lives in Lowestoft, said: "We urge the train company to address the issue of overcrowding on a minority of trains to ensure that business is not lost.

Most Read

"But several members expressed satisfaction with the better quality of trains on the Lowestoft to Ipswich line and the convenience of its through services to London."

A spokeswoman for train operator One said they welcomed the survey but insisted their own performance figures showed there was 90% punctuality on its rural lines, while passengers on the mainline trains between Norwich and London were enjoying promptness of 92%.

"We have noticed some improvements since the new timetable was introduced," she said.

"Regarding the trains that were late, we don't believe there is a particular problem, just something unfortunate happened on those days.

"As for inspections, we make it quite clear that passengers must buy their tickets before boarding the train in London and conductors do try and make the effort to see everyone."

She says the company recognised the overcrowding on the Lowestoft to Norwich line and was looking at putting extra carriages on in the near future.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter