Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 5°C

min temp: 5°C

Search

Has Greater Anglia paid too much to run trains on this region’s network

PUBLISHED: 13:57 10 October 2017 | UPDATED: 14:03 10 October 2017

Greater Anglia is introducing new trains across the region in two years' time. Picture: GREATER ANGLIA

Greater Anglia is introducing new trains across the region in two years' time. Picture: GREATER ANGLIA

Archant

New figures from the government’s rail watchdog has prompted fears that Greater Anglia may have paid the government too much to run trains across the region.

Christian Wolmar. Picture: CONTRIBUTED Christian Wolmar. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

The new statistics from the Office of Road and Rail showed that the number of passengers using Greater Anglia trains has remained the same over the last two years – but when Abellio bid to retain the franchise last year its figures assumed that the passenger growth of the last 20 years would continue.

What is potentially more worrying is that sales of season tickets fell last year for the first time since 1995. Companies like Greater Anglia rely on season tickets for a substantial amount of their revenue – and it is a guaranteed figure they can plan for.

Over-estimated ticket revenue has caused problems for rail companies in the past – both GNER and National Express got into financial difficulties with the East Coast franchise from London to Newcastle and Edinburgh and current operators Stagecoach/Virgin are negotiating an amended franchise with the Department for Transport.

Rail expert Christian Wolmar, who has written several books on the industry, said the season ticket revenue was vital to a company like Greater Anglia: “That is the money that the company relies on, it is a guaranteed sum coming in all the time and if that falls then there could be problems.

“I don’t think there will be any companies defaulting, the Department for Transport will not allow that, but there could be pressure to re-negotiate franchise deals.”

Greater Anglia was awarded the franchise to run trains in the region until 2025. It committed to paying £3.7bn to the Treasury and spending £1.4bn on new trains which are due to be introduced from 2019.

Jonathan Denby from Greater Anglia said this region was fundamentally different to the East Coast route because a substantial proportion of its passengers were season ticket holders.

He said: “The passenger figures do not vary that much. And we know there is going to be population growth in the region with 10,000 new homes coming to Chelmsford and 18,000 to Colchester in the next few years – and there are many more elsewhere across the network we serve.”

A group of people – three adults and two children – are currently stuck in a lift in an Ipswich apartment block.

A Suffolk pre-school has celebrated after receiving an ‘outstanding’ rating following its first Ofsted inspection.

Record crowds turned out to welcome Santa Claus to a Suffolk garden centre as bosses kicked off their festive season.

The Ipswich Society is interested in almost anything that affects the well-being of our town. We are not a single-issue organisation but pride ourselves on being multi-faceted and versatile.

A 26-year-old woman who went missing from her home in Ipswich sparking a police appeal has been found.

Suffolk brewers Adnams have stirred up storm in a beer glass by extolling the virtues of “Mighty Norwich City” while not having a shop in Ipswich, their own county town!

Suffolk gardening expert, writer and broadcaster Ric Staines has died – prompting tributes from people who knew and worked with him.

Bramford Road in Ipswich is set to remain closed during Monday morning’s rush-hour while safety engineers continue their inspection of building work at a former pub.

Some people may still think of model trains as “toys” but hundreds of people who visited Kesgrave High School on Saturday went to admire the skills of those who put so much time and effort into an exacting hobby.

Pupils and staff at a Suffolk primary school are hoping to win a pot of cash set aside for community projects to revamp broken play equipment.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24