Greater Anglia Seeks Stakeholder Support to Build the Case for Major East Anglian Rail Upgrades
Train operator targets quicker journey times, further performance improvements and more capacity
Greater Anglia is proactively seeking stakeholder support to help secure rail upgrades for the East Anglian rail network by 2019. Ruud Haket, the Managing Director of the Abellio-owned train operator has written to over 200 regional stakeholders asking them to write to the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR), Department for Transport (DfT) and Network Rail requesting that the following key improvements are made to the Great Eastern Main Line (or GEML - between Norwich, Ipswich, Colchester, Chelmsford and London) and the West Anglia route (Cambridge/Stansted Airport - Bishops Stortford - Harlow - Tottenham Hale - London) by 2019:
I. Real improvements to journey times and line speeds on both the GEML and West Anglia routes
II. Additional track capacity just north of Chelmsford - ideally long loops parallel to the existing lines in the vicinity of the proposed Beaulieu Park station
III. Extension of the third track from Stratford to at least Angel Road and ideally Brimsdown on the West Anglia route
The company is encouraging all those who are keen to see further enhancements to the region's train services (including MPs, local authorities, business organisations and rail user groups) to take advantage of a key window of opportunity to influence the final investment plans and upgrades in Network Rail's Strategic Business Plan for 2014 to 2019. The ORR is currently consulting on Network Rail's plans - with submissions due in by 19 February - before the plans are finalised and approved by the ORR in the autumn.
Greater Anglia, which is working closely with Network Rail on improving rail services in the region, welcomes the investment plans already proposed by the infrastructure operator, but is keen to see additional, tangible progress made on the crucial Great Eastern and West Anglia main lines by 2019, so that passengers can enjoy the benefits of faster journey times, more seats and further increases in service reliability, before the end of the decade. The company has played a major role in developing the East Anglian Rail Prospectus (which was published last year) and helping to create a broad alliance of stakeholders to support the aspirations it outlines. Wide stakeholder support and the economic benefits that rail upgrades will bring are crucial factors in securing the political support and, most importantly, the investment that is needed to upgrade the rail infrastructure.
Ruud Haket, Managing Director, Greater Anglia said:
"At Greater Anglia we are passionate about delivering a better and continuously improving rail service for East Anglia. We are already doing what we can in the short term to upgrade services (and already making real progress in terms of punctuality and reducing the amount of disruptive weekend engineering work), but this is a vital chance for us all to try and secure the additional infrastructure enhancements on the GEML and West Anglia routes we all wish to see, sooner rather than later - to the benefit of customers, communities and the economy across our region. We will be responding to the ORR's consultation and proposing that a commitment to the delivery of these key improvements by 2019 is included in the final approved Strategic Business Plan agreed by the ORR later in 2013. We encourage stakeholders across East Anglia to do the same, so collectively we can fulfil the aims set out in the East Anglian Rail Prospectus."