Train man rides in to town - and on time

JOHN Armitt is a man with a mission – to make sure the nation's trains can run on time.He's chief executive of Network Rail, the new not-for-profit organisation set up last year to take over from the collapse of Railtrack.

By Paul Geater

JOHN Armitt is a man with a mission – to make sure the nation's trains can run on time.

He's chief executive of Network Rail, the new not-for-profit organisation set up last year to take over from the collapse of Railtrack.

Now he's spent a day in East Anglia as a guest of GB Railways seeing for himself the problems the company faces and what Network Rail can do to help.


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He was keen to emphasise that the organisation's aim now is to make the existing network operate more effectively.

It is not its job to invest in new projects – that is the role of the government's Strategic Rail Authority.

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"We are working to make sure the existing network does what it should. I know there are areas in East Anglia where improvements need to be made," Mr Armitt said.

There have recently been major problems on the main line between Ipswich and Norwich which have caused serious delays for Anglia services.

"We are aware of these, and have been trying to solve the problems on the line – and of course the gales earlier this month brought their own problems," he added.

At least he was hopeful that we've seen the end of leaves on the line this year.

"The gales brought most of them down in one fell swoop, normally they go on much later – but now there aren't many left on the trees," he said.

Nationally Mr Armitt promised the new company would pay more attention to basic management and renewal of the network.

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