Published on: Monday, 13 June 2016
Last updated: Wednesday, 5 October 2016
Abellio Greater Anglia has published its Annual Report to Customers for 2015/16, providing a summary of the company’s progress over the last year, outlining key improvements and setting out priorities for the remainder of its franchise, which finishes in October. The publication reflects the train operator’s commitment to engage openly with its customers and stakeholders across the region.
Additional investment announced in 2015, means that in the current short franchise Abellio Greater Anglia has invested over £40 million in customer-focused initiatives and service improvements across its network. This is more than double the investment agreed with the Department for Transport at the start of the franchise in July 2014. As a result, more trains have been upgraded, more investment has been made in train reliability improvements and more resources have been provided for train cleaning – with a resultant rise in train presentation standards.
The highlights of the report, which is available at stations across the network include:
The £12 million refurbishment programme for the intercity trains used on the Norwich – Ipswich – Colchester – London line, with plug points, new lighting, new carpets, new tables, new carpets and new toilets which has been progressing well, is on schedule, and is now over 80% complete;
A linked programme to provide over 600,000 extra standard seats a year on intercity trains between Norwich and London by refurbishing seven catering vehicles, which is also on course and will be completed later this year;
The completion of a £1m investment project to refresh the company’s fleet of 24 Class 317/6 trains and the start of an interior refresh for all 15 Class 317/5 trains – all trains which are used on the West Anglia routes to Hertford, Harlow, Bishops Stortford and Cambridge;
A refresh project for 66 Class 321 trains (used on Great Eastern mainline services between Ipswich, Harwich, Clacton, Colchester, Braintree, Chelmsford and Southend and London) with new seat covers, better lighting and enhanced deep clean, which is now well advanced;
The start of a full refurbishment programme for 10 Class 321 trains in a major upgrade programme in partnership with Eversholt Rail;
a project to renew seat covers on the Class 360 trains used on Great Eastern
Main Line services from Ipswich, Clacton, Colchester and Chelmsford to London;
New seat covers for the fleet of 12 x Class 170 trains, operating on the regional network in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire;
A more frequent "heavy clean" programme for all trains, and extra resources to further raise train presentation and cleaning standards;
The opening of Cambridge station’s £2.5 million CyclePoint in February, providing safe and secure parking in the largest new facility of its type at a UK rail station;
From Easter 2016, most Stansted Express services at weekends were increased to eight coaches, doubling the number of seats to create over 40,000 additional seats each weekend;
The first South Eastern Flexible Ticketing (SEFT) smartcard season tickets have been launched on our Cambridge to Liverpool Street and Southend Victoria to Liverpool Street routes;
The extension of the popular Cambridge to Stansted Airport weekday train services (launched in July 2014) to seven-days-a-week operation from December 2015;
Provision of extra summer Sunday services between Norwich / Ipswich and Lowestoft, and Norwich and London were introduced in May 2015, in addition to the usual extra summer services to destinations such as Great Yarmouth. Additional Summer Monday and Friday services to Great Yarmouth also operated;
Progression of major station upgrade projects for key stations including Cambridge, Chelmsford, Ipswich and Norwich.
In addition, as part of its proactive approach to working with local communities, the train operator also increased funding for community rail partnerships and station adopters; delivered a number of partnership schemes to upgrade stations ranging from the provision of ticket vending machines (e.g. at Cromer, Halesworth, Hythe and Prittlewell), to new information screens, to refurbished stations, platforms and footbridges (e.g. Brampton, Hertford East, Great Chesterford, Needham Market, Roydon, Tottenham Hale and Wymondham), to regenerated station buildings (e.g. at Burnham on Crouch); local education partnerships (e.g. at Great Yarmouth) and community artworks (e.g. at Mistley, Rayleigh and South Woodham Ferrers); supported wider community projects linked to tourism, the arts and local events; celebrated local anniversaries such as the 50th anniversary of the East Suffolk Travellers Association and worked on the innovative Fixing the Link project to make the walking route between Colchester town centre and the main station more attractive and accessible.
Abellio Greater Anglia also continued to play a positive and active role in making the case with wider stakeholders for further investment in the region’s railways, ensuring that the strategic rail aspirations for East Anglia are high on the agenda in the East Anglia franchise renewal programme and in the process to agree Network Rail’s future investment and infrastructure upgrade plans.
Although there remains much more to do, the operator’s efforts received some recognition from its customers as National Passenger Survey results increased to 81% in Autumn 2015. The company also received independent awards for projects to reduce the disruptive impact of engineering works; trial a new battery-powered train; develop its customer service training programme and joint operation of London Liverpool Street station with Network Rail.
Jamie Burles, Managing Director, Abellio Greater Anglia, commented: “Our Annual Report to Customers highlights the progress we have made in the issues that matter to our customers and stakeholders – especially performance, customer service and upgrades to trains, stations and information provision. In the most recent National Passenger Survey results for autumn 2015, customer satisfaction improved significantly to 81%, endorsing the investment of over £40 million we are making across the franchise. We know there is much more to do to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations. We remain committed to our sustained and proactive approach to investment in service upgrades, working closely with Network Rail to consistently deliver a more punctual and reliable service, and continuing to improve service standards right through to the end of the current franchise.”