New trains help Greater Anglia maintain best autumn reliability

Greater Anglia train at Lowestoft

Could direct services be introduced between Lowestoft and London again? - Credit: Greater Anglia

Latest performance figures show Greater Anglia had its best-ever autumn season - despite the perennial problem of leaves on the line.

Almost 92% of its trains on the Great Eastern Main Line between Norwich, Ipswich and London ran on time during the four weeks until December 12, which followed good performances during the earlier autumn months.

Overall, during that four-week period, 94.4% of Greater Anglia's trains ran on time.

This is usually a time of the year when there are serious problems for rail operators.

During autumn 2019, Greater Anglia was introducing its new Stadler bimode trains on regional routes and there were serious issues with new software.

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Network Rail had a problem with a level crossing in Norfolk, which forced trains to run slower while investigations were undertaken.

Greater Anglia’s new regional trains have been credited with handling the challenges of the ‘leaf fall’ season better than the operator’s old fleet.

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They use automatic sanders, which can deposit a layer of sand on the rails and helps train wheels to grip.

They also feature improved Wheel Slide Protection, which is like ABS in cars and helps the trains’ wheels to brake more evenly - preventing wheel damage and wear that could lead to trains being taken out of service for repair.

For the four weeks ending December 12, the Marks Tey to Sudbury line recorded the best punctuality at almost 99%, followed by the Norwich to Sheringham line on just under 98%.

Other top performing routes included the Wherry lines from Norwich to Lowestoft and Yarmouth, both at 97.4%, and the East Suffolk line from Ipswich to Lowestoft at 94.4%

Managing director Jamie Burles said: “I’m really pleased that, during what has traditionally been one of the most difficult periods of the year for performance, we have continued to run punctual, reliable services for those who need to travel.   

“These continued good results demonstrate that our new bi-mode trains are helping to deliver real improvements in punctuality and reliability, coping much better with the challenges of autumn than our old trains, and are helping to transform journeys for people in the region.”

At present public transport can only be used for essential journeys for work, education or vital reasons like medical appointments - and all travellers have to wear face coverings.

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