28,000 extra train seats for region's commuters

UNDER-siege rail operator National Express East Anglia is to provide more than 28,000 extra seats every week from December in the hope of appeasing commuters.

Simon Tomlinson

UNDER-siege rail operator National Express East Anglia is to provide more than 28,000 extra seats every week from December in the hope of appeasing commuters.

The first stage of NXEA's capacity enhancement programme will see additional carriages on services in the north Essex and Ipswich corridor to and from London Liverpool Street.

This will provide around 5,700 extra seats each weekday from the start of the winter timetable on December 13, the company said.

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Nineteen existing services on routes between Braintree, Clacton-on-Sea, Colchester, Chelmsford, Harwich, Ipswich, Witham and London Liverpool Street will be increased to run as either eight carriage trains from four, or 12 carriage trains from eight.

Andrew Chivers, managing director of National Express East Anglia, said: “The provision of the first tranche of additional carriages will enable us to deliver an immediate benefit for our customers.

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“We are committed to achieving further improvements as the rest of this major service upgrade programme is implemented over the next three years.”

The company has been on the ropes in recent months due to strike action and passenger anger over a series of widespread service cancellations caused by staff shortages.

Mr Chivers added: “The introduction of these additional seats demonstrates that we are listening to our customers and will enable many passengers to enjoy a more comfortable journey along the Great Eastern mainline.”

The extra carriages are being introduced on key morning and evening peak services as well as those which are regularly busy.

Trains increased to 12 carriages are:

5.21am and 8.03am Colchester to Liverpool Street.

6.21am Colchester Town to Liverpool Street.

7.03am Chelmsford to Liverpool Street.

9am Braintree to Liverpool Street.

5.08pm Liverpool Street to Clacton-on-Sea (12 carriages to Colchester).

6.22pm Liverpool Street to Clacton-on-Sea, (12 carriages to Witham).

6.32pm Liverpool Street to Ipswich.

Trains increased to eight carriages are:

8am Harwich Town to Liverpool Street (eight carriages from Colchester).

8.58am Witham to Liverpool Street.

4.15pm Liverpool Street to Harwich Town (eight carriages to Colchester).

7.08pm Liverpool Street to Clacton-on-Sea.

The following changes are also being made:

The 8.02am (Monday to Friday) Liverpool Street to Colchester Town service will call additionally at Kelvedon.

The 4.30pm (Monday to Friday) Ipswich to Colchester re-timed to depart at 4.32pm and is extended to run through as an additional service to London Liverpool Street.

The 7pm (Sunday) Liverpool Street to Norwich will call additionally at Chelmsford, Colchester and Manningtree.

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