Welcome back to Greater Anglia
Everything is opening up, we’re being encouraged to return to the office and most Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted. Here at Greater Anglia we’re looking forward to welcoming you back on board. Throughout the pandemic we’ve kept the railway running safely and reliably and we’re seeing increasing numbers of people travelling with us again.
What’s changed since I last travelled with you?
Many of you may not have been on a train since March 2020 when the Government told us all to stay at home. So much has changed since then. Probably the first thing you’ll notice is that we have many more of our brand-new longer trains in passenger service. In fact, some of our routes are now operated exclusively by new trains. This is the case for all routes from Norwich – including the Intercity service to London Liverpool Street. It’s also new trains only on the Ipswich to Lowestoft, Felixstowe, Cambridge and Peterborough; Marks Tey to Sudbury routes and our Stansted Express service between London and Stansted Airport.
Trains on these routes all have a low-level floor and a sliding step at every door which bridges the gap between the train and the platform edge – if you are a wheelchair user you may now be able to board independently however we still have ramps and staff to assist for customers who need it. If you do need assistance for your journey you can prebook through our contact centre, via our webform or the new passenger assist app. Please give us six hours’ notice.
We also have some new trains on our commuter routes between London Liverpool Street and Colchester Town, Clacton, Braintree, Southminster and Southend Victoria. Our new trains are much longer – so there’s plenty of room to spread out – as well as having all the mod cons you’d expect on a modern train and much improved areas for wheelchair users and cyclists.
You’re also far more likely to spot our cleaning crews, as they swoop on board once a train has finished its journey to wipe down high touch areas with virucides. If you can throw your rubbish away please, they can spend the maximum amount of time cleaning and sanitising rather than litter picking. We spent £600k during the pandemic on extra train cleaners and powerful new cleaning equipment including fogging guns which spray a fine mist of disinfectant throughout carriages, backpack vacuum cleaners which clean the air as well as floors and upholstery, and special testing equipment to make sure our cleaning routines are effective. We’re also using an independent firm to test our trains for Covid-19 – and every test has come back negative.
We’ve always let you know which trains are less busy, but we’ve recently revamped our less busy train tool on our website to make it even more useful, if you have the flexibility to travel at a different time and take advantage of fewer passengers on board. It’s really easy to use – just tap in which rush-hour journey to London Liverpool Street you want to make and we’ll show you at a glance how busy the train is at every station along the route.
We reduced our timetable during the pandemic as our passenger numbers fell. Although the timetable is almost back to normal – with about 86 per cent of services now running, it’s a good idea to check before you travel in case the train you used to catch is not in service.
What’s happening about face coverings – do I still need to wear one?
The Government’s advice Moving to step 4 of the roadmap - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) is that they expect and recommend that we should all carry on wearing face coverings in crowded places – such as busy trains. Very high numbers of our customers have been wearing face coverings at our stations and on our trains and we’re asking you to follow the Government’s recommendation and keep on wearing them when it’s busy. It’s a simple way for us all to help keep each other safe.
Our new and refurbished trains have air conditioning, which sucks in fresh air every six to nine minutes. Trains without air con have opening windows – and all trains have doors which open at stations, so while you’re travelling you’ll still get some fresh air.
Remember also to keep up the good habit of washing or sanitising your hands. We’ve got hand sanitiser available at all our staffed stations, but it’s a good idea to pop a little bottle of hand sanitiser and a face covering in your pocket or bag when you travel in case you need them. And of course, if you have any Covid-19 symptoms, please stay at home.
There are so many fantastic places to travel on our network, from the Norfolk Broads, to the historic towns of Suffolk, the history and culture of Cambridge, the great cathedrals of Ely, Norwich and Bury St Edmunds and the miles of Essex coastline with its many sandy beaches. And there’s never been a better year to visit London, with fewer tourists than usual in the city. There are no major engineering works on our main routes throughout the summer, either, but check before you travel Service Alterations | Greater Anglia to make sure your route is clear.
To find the best fare – and to check out discounts such as our great value Off-Peak Return, Advance and GroupSave fares, visit the Greater Anglia website Ticket & Fare Information | Train Tickets To London | Greater Anglia