Greater Anglia retains rail award for second year

Greater Anglia Intercity train

The judges were impressed by the introduction of Greater Anglia's new trains. - Credit: Paul Geater

Greater Anglia has won the Rail Operator of the Year award for the second year running at the Rail Business Awards.

Judges praised the company for improving punctuality to record levels, transforming services by bringing in brand new trains, delivering station improvements and ticketing initiatives, and focusing on community relations work.

The award comes at the end of a year which has seen passenger numbers slump because of the Covid pandemic and instructions to people to only use public transport for essential journeys.

Greater Anglia also won the Accessibility and Integrated Transport Excellence Award for accessibility improvements on its services thanks to the introduction of new Stadler-built regional, and intercity trains.

Last year, despite the pandemic, Greater Anglia implemented a range of improvements including completing the roll-out of new, longer bi-mode trains which run on diesel and electricity to replace its old diesel trains and replacing all its old slam-door trains with brand new state-of-the-art trains on the Norwich to London Liverpool Street intercity route.

The company also ran more trains on time, with months of record-breaking punctuality of between 94% and 96% of trains running on time. The annual punctuality figure for Greater Anglia has now, in February 2021, reached a record high of 93.66%.

Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia managing director, said: “To be named train operator of the year for a second year running, especially through the challenges created by the pandemic, is a tremendous accolade and a credit to the hard work and determination of everyone in our team, across the whole of Greater Anglia, to make our service much better for our customers.

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“I’m very proud of what we have achieved in terms of continuing the roll out of our high-quality new trains and the step change in performance that has seen our punctuality results improve significantly.

“Our continued customer-focused approach and commitment to continually improving the rail service in East Anglia puts us in the best position to attract passengers back to rail when travel restrictions are eased.”

Judges looked at Greater Anglia’s performance and projects over the period between autumn 2019 and autumn 2020. During that time, the company launched new direct Norwich to Stansted Airport services and introduced hourly Sunday services on a number of regional lines.

Greater Anglia also invested in station improvements, including the installation of clearer information screens which give passengers more details about train services, more seats, upgraded waiting rooms, new waiting shelters and LED lighting, additional cycle parking and improved and extended car parks.