Greater Anglia managing director pledges to make more trains run on time

Published on: Thursday, 5 March 2020
Last updated: Thursday, 5 March 2020

Greater Anglia managing director Jamie Burles has pledged to do everything he can to make sure more trains run on time – following a big improvement in punctuality last year.

Last year, 35,000 trains which were late in 2018 arrived within one minute of their scheduled arrival time in 2019.

This followed a big push on punctuality, which saw regular “performance summits” with Network Rail, weekly meetings at Greater Anglia where every single minute of delay was analysed to see how it could be avoided again and a number of initiatives aimed at getting trains departing from stations on time.

Earlier this month, Greater Anglia received two awards for punctuality at the independent Golden Whistles Awards, including “most improved” operator for punctuality on the company’s commuter services in Essex and Hertfordshire, which rose by 13.1 per cent compared to the previous year.

Jamie Burles said: “Overall we saw punctuality rise last year – even though we had a very difficult December on our rural lines when signalling issues preventing us from running a full train service and set back our new trains roll-out programme, which I’m very sorry about.

“There have been some problems so far this year too on parts of our network – although we’re seeing punctuality and reliability improve on some of our rural lines, such as Norwich-Sheringham.

“We are keeping our focus on punctuality – I know it can be better and I’m determined to make sure it does get better.

“We are continuing with all the actions we took last year, as well as looking for other innovations that will help us to give our customers what they want – a reliable and punctual train service.”

Last year’s actions in the joint Greater Anglia and Network Rail “Every Second Counts” punctuality drive included:

  • A more proactive recovery policy established for dealing with delays caused by broken down trains
  • Joint improvement plans drawn up by Greater Anglia and Network Rail
  • Introduction of Japanese technology to plan the timetable more efficiently
  • Network Rail set up a £10 million booster fund for initiatives specifically to improve performance, maintenance work on problem areas and removal of long-standing speed restrictions

In the coming year, Greater Anglia Network Rail will continue to hold joint performance summits.

Greater Anglia is using innovative software to monitor the punctuality of trains at stations, enabling the organisation to monitor late trains at stations and work out interventions to stop them being consistently delayed.

Network Rail is focusing on improvement works at Liverpool Street to reduce delays caused by infrastructure problems at the station such as points failure or signalling issues.Ellie Burrows, Network Rail’s managing director for Anglia, said: “I’m determined to improve performance across the region by working closely with our train operators to deliver the levels of service our passengers rightly expect.

“While we’ve seen some good progress there is further to go. We’re upgrading track and overhead wiring systems to improve the reliability of the infrastructure across the region while also looking at how we better recover the service when incidents do happen.”

Greater Anglia has replaced all of its old diesel trains with brand new trains which, despite some teething problems as they bed in, are beginning to increase reliability across the company’s rural train lines.

The company has also started replacing all of the old intercity trains which run between Norwich-Liverpool Street.

This year will see the start of the roll-out of brand-new electric commuter trains, built in the UK by Bombardier, which will replace all the company’s existing electric trains which run on lines in Essex, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and from Ipswich.