More trains as Greater Anglia passenger numbers increase

Aventra train at Ipswich

A full service is now running between Ipswich, Manningtree, Colchester and London on weekdays. - Credit: Paul Geater

Greater Anglia is re-introducing a near-normal weekday service from Monday as the number of commuters starts to rise with more people returning to their offices after the pandemic.

Since the start of September the number of passengers using trains in the region has increased significantly - the company is now carrying 64% of pre-pandemic passenger numbers.

In August the figure was 55%, and the rise during the summer was largely driven by the return of leisure passengers using the trains for days out to coastal resorts or large cities in the region. 

But at that stage only a comparatively small proportion of commuters to large cities, including London, had returned. The offer of flexible season tickets had only a marginal effect because of restrictions imposed on their use.

However, the start of September does seem to have heralded the return of many more commuters - although the rail industry suspect it could take years to return to pre-March 2020 commuter numbers.

From Monday all weekday services between Ipswich, Manningtree, Colchester, Chelmsford and London will be operating again as will almost all InterCity trains from Norwich, Ipswich and Colchester to Liverpool Street.

Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia managing director said: “As restrictions have been lifted we’ve seen our trains get busier on many routes. We anticipate further increases as the Government is encouraging people to return to working from offices.

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“We revised our timetable several times during the pandemic to reflect the impact of Covid restrictions on passenger numbers and throughout that time we ran a safe and reliable railway.

“We are continuing to clean and sanitise our trains, paying attention to high touch areas. Regular independent random Covid tests have been carried out on our trains and all have come back negative.

“For people who would still rather travel on quieter trains, we have an improved less busy trains tool on our website, where people can see at a glance which are the quietest stations at every station to and from London Liverpool Street.

“We also remain committed to running a punctual railway and currently on average 95% of our trains are on time.”

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