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Two ‘Norwich in 90’ trains each weekday will be part of new rail deal for East Anglia

An Abellio Greater Anglia train.  
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

An Abellio Greater Anglia train. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2015

Norwich to London in 90 minutes, “state of the art” trains, free internet and extra services will be introduced by the next firm to run East Anglia’s rail services, the Government said today.

The contenders

Abellio East Anglia Limited (a joint venture between Abellio and Stagecoach)

Abellio is a Dutch-owned company which has been running the line since 2012. Last year it was awarded the ScotRail contract running services north of the border.

Stagecoach Group was originally founded in Scotland in the 1980s, it now has transport contracts across the UK and around the world running buses and train services across mainland Europe and North America.

First East Anglia Limited

FirstGroup runs about a fifth of local bus services out of London and also runs trains in the south-west and the TransPennine Express.

It also has a large student transport arm in North America and runs the iconic Greyhound bus brand across the Atlantic.

National Express East Anglia Trains Limited

National Express ran the East Anglian line until 2012. It runs bus, train and coach services in Europe, North Africa and North America.

The invitation to tender, which would form the basis of the contract, was published today and the Government expects to announce the successful bidder next summer, with the new nine-year franchise due to start from October 2016.

Three bidders are set to battle it out for what is seen as a lucrative deal to run services across a large part of East Anglia.

It comes after the Chancellor promised ahead of the election that the Government would make sure that trains would run between Norwich and London in 90 minutes.

In order to achieve that pledge a raft of engineering work needs to be carried out by Network Rail and new trains are needed on the line over the coming years.

The battle to win the bid is between Dutch-owned Abellio and Stagecoach, which have teamed up to put in a joint bid, a previous operator National Express and FirstGroup.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said today that bidders for the next franchise would be required to introduce at least two 90-minute services in each direction running between Norwich and London every weekday.

It added that the next operator would also have to introduce 180 extra weekly services to places including Cambridge, Norwich, Stansted Airport, Southend and London Liverpool Street.

They will also be told to invest in improved carriages providing a “modern service with state of the art trains”.

The DfT said extra points would be awarded to bidders who included plans to trial new technologies in rolling stock.

Trains will have to include free WiFi and they will have targets to reduce crowding on the busiest services.

There will also have to be at least one extra 60-minute service each day in each direction between Ipswich and London.

Rail Minister Claire Perry said: “For too long, passengers in East Anglia have not had the high-quality rail services that they deserve. Our ambitious requirements will change that by making journeys significantly better than they are now. These plans will also ensure that East Anglia finally has a rail network that supports its growing economy.

“We have set out what we want to see bidders deliver as a minimum, but we are looking for bids that exceed our expectations wherever possible. It is now for the industry to step up to the challenge and tell us how they will make this happen.”

Norwich North MP Chloe Smith and Mark Pendlington, chairman of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, put out a statement after the Government announcement, welcoming the move.

“Thousands of passengers and businesses have got behind our campaign across three counties to get faster, more reliable rail services between Norwich and London,” they said. “The day-to-day and economic benefits of what we have won will be immense for our region and completed in ten years.”

“In the short term, we also welcome the provision of additional fast services from Norwich and Ipswich to London,” they added.

“In the long term, our work continues to make sure the necessary track improvements take place over the next ten years, as planned.”

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23 comments

  • Perhaps some of these commuters should go to work earlier and leave off later, may solve a few problems. Flexible working is needed.

    Report this comment

    rustic

    Saturday, September 19, 2015

  • "a lucrative deal for the winning bidder...." - that just says it all! The first priority is the profits to the bidder, the rail passenger, or "customer" as they prefer to call us now, a poor second and fed the scraps. NOT a way to run a railway!

    Report this comment

    Weary Traveller

    Friday, September 18, 2015

  • Private Eye this week has a little piece about the East Midlands route-says a passenger waiting to board the Liverpool Norwich train at Sheffield saw it announced as running late and then cancelled. The passenger tried to claim for the cancellation only to be told the train arrived on time in Norwich. The suggestion was that East Midlands trains had decided not to call at Sheffield in order to keep the train to the timetable to avoid a late running " black mark". I am a bit sceptical-what about those who were planning to alight at Sheffield-but I suppose the train may have just pulled in to allow passengers off.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Friday, September 18, 2015

  • "t comes after the Chancellor promised ahead of the election that the Government would make sure that trains would run between Norwich and London in 90 minutes. "....more trai8ns running on time would be nice, and oput a stop to the endless EDP stories about" Delays on London train" due to frogs on the line or whatever. Can EDP not also enquire as to what price premium will be put on these faster trips...no doubt "The market" will decide and the prices cranked as high as possible for these willing to pay?

    Report this comment

    Stephen Strange

    Friday, September 18, 2015

  • "Norwich North MP Chloe Smith and Mark Pendlington, chairman of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, put out a statement after the Government announcement, welcoming the move." But the didn't take a blind bit of notice of the Archant poll which voted fror a return to a nationalised E.A. rail - how much is this going to cost the traveller & taxpayer?? The distance between Norwich Thorpe & Liverpool Street is, I am told by a rail man 105 miles. Most (if not all) continental rail services would put that on a one hour schedule. The current standard class ticket is circa 50p a mile to ride on badly maintained poorly upholstered and unclean rolling stock. One way or the other the cost of the new stuff (if we actually get it) could make it too expensive to use. No doubt those who worked to get the taxpayer into this mess will not be the ones paying from their own pocket to use it, that's what 'expenses' are for. One thing for sure is the 'operators' won't looose any money only the taxpayer.

    Report this comment

    Rob44

    Friday, September 18, 2015

  • Hopefully we can gwet back to doing the Ipswich-Liv St run in an hour - remember when the train used to evertake the traffic going by Chelmsford?...long time ago.

    Report this comment

    Lewspowels

    Friday, September 18, 2015

  • With todays technology is an extra 30 minutes on a train going to wreck your life? I do not understand this need for speed. Why live in Norwich if you do not want to travel, surely you knew how long it takes to get to London before you moved to Norfolk? If you cannot spend the time on the train move closer to London. There, now no need to spend millions getting a 90 minute service, I am sure those that need a more leisurely service will thank you!!!!

    Report this comment

    canuk

    Thursday, September 17, 2015

  • All this could and should happen NOW or years ago! the same story hand me down Locos and rolling stock,with delays dailly!

    Report this comment

    Albert Cooper

    Thursday, September 17, 2015

  • "Three bidders are set to battle it out for what is seen as a lucrative deal......", and there lies the major problem, the primary objective of these operators is always to maximise profit, despite huge taxpayer subsidies going towards their profits, persistent poor performance whichever private operator runs the services, continual lack of investment in infrastructure – look at the age of the rolling stock, and extortionate ticket prices. Time to end this disastrous tory privatisation and run it as a not for profit service in the interests of commuters, not private profits, as proved so successful with the East Coast Mainline, before tories put greed before commuters yet again.

    Report this comment

    RobD

    Thursday, September 17, 2015

  • Network Rail has guaranteed the infrastructure have they. If I was a bidding company I would want that. Re new trains please please please not the same type of trains that Southern use on London to Portsmouth or Southampton. Back pain specialists will come into their own if they are. 40 minutes is long enough on them let alone 90 especially if you travel daily . What has been said about the other route to London? The one via Cambridge. I look forward to reading full details in tomorrows EDP

    Report this comment

    jennifer jane

    Thursday, September 17, 2015

  • .....I can't understand why the tax payer should foot the bill! ....I would suggest that the majority do not use the railways!....Cars need fuel, and that's highly taxed....Railway fares should reflect the need for travellers to pay their way!.....Goodness me!.. Cyclists will soon be demanding their own free tracks next...not just into Norwich, but Nationwide!...If they are fit enough to ride a bike....Then they are fit enough to Walk!.....

    Report this comment

    Stew Pydsodd

    Thursday, September 17, 2015

  • Norwich in 90 was being done 15-20 years ago! The current stock could do it now, just reduce line congestion and station stops. Ipswich is often reached now in 65 minutes so whats the big deal (and cost) of knocking 5 minutes off? The current trains, IF properly upgraded and maintained, as done elsewhere in the country, are still good. Sadly we have cheap and shoddy. More modern trains such as Voyagers are awful. Noisy, uncomfortable and plastic, surely we don't want those? There is far too much emphasis on spin and PR these days, probably to cover the fact that taxpayers end up paying for all of this at much greater unit cost than under BR!

    Report this comment

    Disbeliever

    Thursday, September 17, 2015

  • Moosey, you are correct, the money DOES have to come from somewhere. I would suggest taxation.

    Report this comment

    arfur

    Thursday, September 17, 2015

  • If the two 90 min Norwich runs are at very quiet times, like the last trains of the day each way, does Chloe Smith give herself a pat on the back and a pay rise for a job well done?

    Report this comment

    Mooseyt4

    Thursday, September 17, 2015

  • amsterdam81 - the same story and comments appears in every Archant publication the east, you just see a different banner and web address. No journalism anymore!

    Report this comment

    Mooseyt4

    Thursday, September 17, 2015

  • arfur - renationalisation isn't the answer to every rail woe! Whilst it may be good, it isnt going to fix every little problem instantly. A LOT of money needs to be pumped in to the infrastructure and ordering lots of new trains, and it has to come from somewhere.

    Report this comment

    Mooseyt4

    Thursday, September 17, 2015

  • Interesting none of the comments here relate to Ipswich. Strange for an Ipswich paper. Not sure if the headline should be ' three trains in each direction between London and Ipswich each weekday'. The time to Norwich is irrelevant to most of us.

    Report this comment

    amsterdam81

    Thursday, September 17, 2015

  • A virtually incomprehensible headline... but more seriously, if we actually thought of our train infrastructure as a service rather than as a money-making construct, we would all be a lot happier (apart from a few greed driven so-and-soes obviously.) Renationalisation without compensation would sort it out!

    Report this comment

    arfur

    Thursday, September 17, 2015

  • Wait for next archant headline less trains stopping at Diss and Stowmarket!!!

    Report this comment

    Norwichbcfc

    Thursday, September 17, 2015

  • Just waiting for someone to point out the spelling mistake, thought that was going to be Mooseyt4. AGA were running some carriages with no power on Tuesday.

    Report this comment

    Piranha24

    Thursday, September 17, 2015

  • They do not need new trains to achieve Norwich in 90, these trains are capable of doing it right now. They need to sort out the infrastructure to achieve Norwich in 90. Of course we all want new trains as they are knackered and horrible.

    Report this comment

    Mooseyt4

    Thursday, September 17, 2015

  • I think that should read between Norwich and Loddon in 90 mins. More believable methinks.

    Report this comment

    rament

    Thursday, September 17, 2015

  • Ahh it will be watered down to Norwich in 180!

    Report this comment

    Resident Smith

    Thursday, September 17, 2015

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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