Abellio Greater Anglia invests a further £1.5m in performance and service delivery initiatives
Abellio Greater Anglia is to invest a further £1.5m in a new programme of performance and service delivery initiatives, designed to give customers a better service by improving punctuality and service consistency across its network.
Fully recognising customers want better performance after a challenging few weeks, the train operator will implement a series of actions to improve train reliability including modifications to trains, recruitment of additional staff and further upgrades to train presentation standards. The key actions are:
- Reliability modifications to the doors on Class 315, 317 and 321 electric trains used on Great Eastern and West Anglia services to and from London;
- More overnight door maintenance and repair resources at key locations such as Colchester, Southend, Orient Way (London), Chingford and Cambridge to tackle and prevent disruptive door faults - helping improve punctuality on services to and from London;
- Modifications and upgrades to the electrical and mechanical systems on the Class 315, 317 and 321 electric trains used on Great Eastern and West Anglia services to and from London;
- Further enhancements to the Class 90 locomotive maintenance regime (these locomotives are used on the Norwich - Ipswich - Colchester - London intercity services);
- Improving the maintenance depot systems for changing train wheels and motors;
- Additional resources to further strengthen the round the clock technical support for the train fleet;
- Four additional engineers and technical support staff to help deliver the performance improvement schemes as quickly as possible (in addition to the 6 announced last month);
- Fourteen additional cleaning staff (in addition to the 40 extra staff announced last month) to continue the focus and investment on cleaner trains.
The programme of initiatives will start immediately and be delivered progressively over the next six months to help improve punctuality and wider service delivery across the company's network, after the difficult recent period. Although Abellio Greater Anglia's annual punctuality results place it 10th out of the 22 UK train operators (with an annual average of 90.7% against a national average of 89.3%), the last few weeks have not been good enough. The autumn is traditionally a more difficult period for UK train performance, but this year has been especially problematic - primarily due to infrastructure faults such as track, signalling and overhead line problems, plus an increase in problems due to weather-related disruption and an increase of over 50% in the number of fatality incidents (suicides) compared to 2013. In addition, there have been Abellio Greater Anglia’s own train faults, plus freight companies’ train faults.
Abellio Greater Anglia is working very closely with Network Rail, who is actively targeting a more reliable infrastructure performance in the New Year.
In the meantime, the train operator is playing its full part in improving performance by implementing this programme of performance and service delivery initiatives. The investment follows on from £20 million worth of service upgrades announced in April 2014 and a further £10 million of upgrades announced in November 2014.
Abellio Greater Anglia Managing Director Jamie Burles said: "We are sorry that recent performance has not been reliable enough. We are listening to our customers' feedback every day and we are anxious to address their concerns. This extensive programme of performance and service delivery initiatives is deliberately designed to address issues regarding recent performance head on. By investing further in the reliability and condition of our fleet of trains, we expect to see improvements in train punctuality over the coming months. Some actions will have a quicker impact than others, but in tandem with all the work Network Rail is doing to address infrastructure problems, we are determined they will make a positive difference in 2015.
“In addition, the recently announced service quality investments to the on-train environment for a number of our carriages, plus other improvements to Sunday timetables and station facilities, mean that customers should see a real, positive difference to service standards over the next year, building on the train, station and timetable upgrades we have introduced over the last 12 months. We are fully committed to delivering a better service in the short term, as well as continuing to work effectively with regional stakeholders to secure longer term investment and upgrades for our region's railways."