Greater Anglia restores more Intercity trains as passenger numbers rise
- Credit: Paul Geater
Greater Anglia is now carrying more than 50% of pre-pandemic passengers for the first time since the lockdown was imposed in March 2020.
And that has led the company to re-instate a half-hourly service on the main Intercity line between Norwich, Ipswich and London for most of the day.
A half-hourly service will run throughout the mornings, and although there will be a three-hour period over lunchtime and early afternoon when there is only an hourly service, by 3.30pm the half-hourly service will return.
The restored trains will run from next Monday, June 21, and will mean that 77% of pre-pandemic Intercity services will run, although none of the Ipswich in 60/Norwich in 90 services will operate. Greater Anglia will then be running 86% of its trains before the first lockdown.
That will be particularly good news for passengers from East Suffolk line stations who currently face a 40-minute wait for a connection on services back to their home station because of the withdrawal of the normal connecting services from London.
And if there are problems down the line, the Intercity trains do not always wait for connecting services, leading to even longer delays.
Intercity services are now completely operated on brand-new longer trains with more seats, better accessibility – including a retractable step at every door - and improved passenger information screens.
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Greater Anglia managing director Jamie Burles said: “Customers have asked us to increase the frequency of the intercity service – and I’m very pleased that we’re able to meet their request.
“We’ve seen passenger numbers increase as lockdown restrictions have eased and we’re now carrying about 50% of our pre-pandemic passenger numbers across the network.
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“As more people return to rail, we are seeing some trains and stations getting busier. We’re encouraging customers to use the full length of trains and platforms, but it may not always be possible to socially distance.
“We have a less busy trains tool on our website, so people can opt for a quieter train. Face covering compliance is high on trains and stations and our trains are well ventilated either by air conditioning which replaces air inside the train every six to nine minutes or by open windows.
“We’re also continuing with enhanced cleaning and sanitisation of our trains and stations, doing everything we can to keep customers safe.”