Dawn of a new rail era

A NEW era for East Anglia's railways dawned today . . . as an influential committee of MPs savaged the industry in a new report.National Express took over all services operating out of Liverpool Street Station which will be marketed under the brandname "One.

A NEW era for East Anglia's railways dawned today . . . as an influential committee of MPs savaged the industry in a new report.

National Express took over all services operating out of Liverpool Street Station which will be marketed under the brandname "One."

The era of different companies operating different services alongside each other to East Anglia came to an end at midnight as Anglia Railways and First Great Eastern passed into history.

However their names will live on - mainline and local services in the region will be marketed as "One Anglia" while commuter services to Essex will be marketed as "One Great Eastern."

The new era was given a VIP send-off as Transport Secretary Alastair Darling and Strategic Rail Authority chairman Richard Bowker attended the official launch at Liverpool Street.

The first train to be painted in the new company's colours was rolled out today, and over the next few months the entire InterCity train fleet in the region will be replaced.

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The current trains date from the 1970s pulled by 1960s locomotives.

They are to be replaced by trains and locomotives dating from the 1990s which previously worked on the mainline services between London, Birmingham, Manchester, and Glasgow.

Phil White, Chief Executive, National Express Group said:

"We are delighted to commence operation of the Greater Anglia franchise today, and we believe that the new company reflects the tremendous diversity of the region.

"The fact that this is the first franchise to be awarded under the SRA's new template provides the Group with a unique opportunity to set the standards for the rest of the rail industry.

"We will be introducing a range of customer benefits including improvements to the existing timetable to give more regular connections to key locations as well as investing over £11 million in station improvements.

"I would like to welcome all the staff who have transferred to 'one' today and look forward to working with them and building on their knowledge and expertise in order to make 'one' a great success."

nWhat do you think of the region's rail services? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Rail industry slammed - see page six.

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