Punctuality drive at Brimsdown and Ponders End
Greater Anglia has drawn up an action plan to improve punctuality and manage crowding on the Lea Valley line.
The Lea Valley route, on the West Anglia train line, includes busy commuter stations, such as Brimsdown and Ponders End, serving the London area.
By the time trains from Hertford East/Bishops Stortford reach these stations in the morning rush hour, they are very full, which can sometimes cause problems leading to delays.
Last year, just under 90 per cent of trains on the West Anglia line ran on time, but when there were delays in morning rush hours at Brimsdown and Ponders End, they rippled across Hertford East/Bishops Stortford services throughout the day, with knock-on delays up to triple the original morning total.
Greater Anglia has looked at different ways of better managing the situation and has come up with a number of possible solutions to be implemented in coming months.
These include putting extra staff at Brimsdown and Ponders End to guide customers to less busy carriages, improving station PA systems so that announcements are clearer and installing new customer information screens which will tell passengers which carriages are less busy.
There are also plans to install new platform shelters and review contingency plans for the stations.
Already some of these actions have been put in place. Extra staff have been deployed at both stations to direct customers to less busy carriages and encourage them to use all available doors when boarding the trains.
Staff at Brimsdown, are identifying the busier carriages and, where needed, will telephone ahead to the team at Ponders End, alerting them to which carriages are particularly full, so they can encourage customers to board the train at less busy sections.
Flavio Lopes, Greater Anglia Right Time Railway Manager for the West route, said: “If trains leave Brimsdown and Ponders End on time, they should then arrive at Stratford and Liverpool Street stations on time, and consequently services back into Hertford East /Bishops Stortford can then run on time.
“You will shortly see at these stations a number of posters and banners encouraging customers to move down the platforms to board using all available doors.”
Amy Brown, Area Customer Service Manager for stations from Stansted Mountfitchet to Lea Bridge said: “It’s important to note that the West Anglia railway is only a two-track railway, just one northbound and one southbound track, so trains cannot overtake other delayed trains and one delayed train has a knock-on effect to those behind it.
“We want to show our customers we take this seriously for them and we are trying to do all we can to improve and reduce delays.”
In the longer term, Greater Anglia is replacing all of its existing trains with brand new longer trains with more seats, from 2019, which should ease crowding problems at the Lea Valley route.