Abellio Greater Anglia invests in improved performance and reliability
Abellio Greater Anglia is investing in additional resources and implementing a joint performance action plan with Network Rail to raise performance standards. Although the company has improved punctuality levels since the beginning of the existing short franchise in February 2012, it has faced a number of challenges over the last five months, including the impact of infrastructure problems caused by the severe weather (including flooding, minor landslips, waterlogged equipment, and over 200 trees brought down in the storm on 28 October). In addition, carriage availability has been adversely affected by a range of issues including flood damage, fatalities, wheelset damage and the consequences of cyclical heavy maintenance and refurbishment programmes.
To ensure performance continues to recover and create extra resilience in its fleet the company is investing in a number of actions to increase service reliability including:
- A contract with Direct Rail Services to provide locomotives and carriages to support service provision on its local routes and increase intercity service carriage availability up to the current franchise end date in July.
- Recruiting additional maintenance staff at its Norwich Crown Point depot.
- Review of contingency plans to improve recovery times in the event of disruption and minimise the impact of any short carriage formations which do occur.
- Further modifications to West Anglia route Class 317 trains to improve door reliability.
- Work with Network Rail to secure a reduction in speed restrictions and engineering work over-runs, and to ensure a more robust operation of the freight services using the Ipswich to Felixstowe line to lessen their performance impact on the passenger services operating on this route.
- Additional fleet advisor working with the operations team to provide 24 hours cover to minimise the impact of any in-service faults.
- Development of further targeted investment schemes to tackle the key causes of delays and disruption.
- Work with Network Rail to improve the reliability of the cab-to-signaller communication system on the Class 315 and Class 317 trains used on services between Shenfield and London and on the West Anglia route.
- Extension of remote train monitoring systems which help track train systems and identify faults before they cause delays or more serious problems.
- Review of traincrew deployment and contingency plans to enable the quickest possible recovery from disruptive events.
The combined initiatives amount to an investment of over £1 million in delivering a better service for customers, despite being only four months from the end of the current franchise.
Commenting on the plans Adam Golton, Interim Managing Director, Abellio Greater Anglia said: "This significant investment and actions illustrate our real commitment to raise standards and deliver the best service possible for our passengers. We are investing in additional resources and putting in place robust plans to improve performance.
“Although we have raised punctuality levels during our franchise, the last few months have not been as consistent, so we are taking action to restore more reliable services and provide greater resilience. We believe these steps will ensure better performance and more consistent provision of planned seating capacity and the scheduled train formations. We are starting to see better performance again and we intend to maintain that trend and keep on improving, working with the Department for Transport to try and agree further upgrades and provide the enhanced quality of service customers rightly expect and we intend to deliver."