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Railhub Archive
2012-03-16 ABB-001
Abellio Greater Anglia


An apology to Greater Anglia Customers

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Abellio Greater Anglia

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Abellio Greater Anglia

An apology to Greater Anglia Customers

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16 March 2012
source Abellio Greater Anglia
type Statement

Dear Customer,

It’s been a month since Greater Anglia took over as the operator of the train service across the region, and we are the first to admit that our performance has not been to the level expected nor demanded by you, our customers, during this time and for this we are sorry.

We are committed to improving and we are pleased to say that we have seen improvement in the last few weeks (in the week ending 10/03/2012 90.6% arrived within five minutes). We recognise that we need to continue this and would like to apologise for the problems yesterday morning (15 March) caused by a late running freight train at Harlow Mill and over-running engineering work between Witham and Chelmsford. Ensuring our services run on time is important to you and we understand the impact it has when we let you down.

Both Greater Anglia and Network Rail are working together to improve the performance of our service and below we have outlined some of the key issues that have caused disruption as well as highlighting the actions we are taking to avoid these occurring again.

The winter weather on the first few days of our franchise (5/6 February) caused some disruption to services however Network Rail mobilised over 100 additional staff at key locations across the network over these 2 days to keep key junctions working while speed restrictions on all Greater Anglia services helped to minimise the build-up of snow and ice on trains which has caused significant damage to the electric motors and train doors in previous years. We understand that there is further room for improvement and will be undertaking a joint review of the winter period with our teams in the coming weeks to ensure that we improve our planning and delivery during winter 2012/13.

The Greater Anglia and Network Rail operations teams meet regularly to develop plans that deal with service disruptions however large or small to minimise future delays.

Each of the recent service disruptions have been discussed in this forum, notably our reaction to the overhead wire problems at Romford on the evening of 5 February, a train fault between Colchester and Manningtree on 6 February, and a train fault on 16 February at Bishops Stortford which have all been reviewed in detail. Yesterday (15 March) we undertook a review into the root cause and impacts of the disruption to services between Clacton and Thorpe-Le-Soken on 5/6 March.

Below we have summarised some of the key actions we are undertaking as a result of these assessment and review groups, and our ongoing improvement work, which will start to address these re-occuring problems:

Network Rail are reviewing all outstanding faults relating to the overhead wires across the network. Work is already underway to start to rectify these faults and the works will all be completed by Summer 2012 and prior to the start of the Olympics. In the longer term, Network Rail's ongoing £1 billion project to improve the network will renew the overhead wires on the London - Chelmsford line. More detail about this work is available by clicking on this link
We are currently working to assess options for changes to Clapton Junction. The points problems at this junction have had a serious impact on the service, particularly for customers using our services to/from Chingford, over the last four weeks. Network Rail will be working on the junction to provide short-term improvements prior to the Olympics.
The points on the approach to London Liverpool Street will also be significantly improved when the engineering works at Hackney Downs happen over the Easter period.
We are continuing to work with British Transport Police to reduce the instances of cable theft across our network. This has included increasing the number of patrols at theft hotspots. More information is available by clicking on this link
We are currently looking at installing a new signalling system in the tunnel near Stansted Airport. The damp conditions inside the tunnel, and subsequent ice build-up during the recent cold weather have caused a number of incidents in recent weeks and an alternative system may reduce the impact on the signalling. Network Rail will be undertaking some further work in the tunnel to improve the reliability of the signalling system in the shorter term and this work will be completed prior to the Olympics.
We are currently working to review our handling of major disruption events to provide customer-focused contingency plans which can be used by our Control team to provide a consistent train service when major incidents occur. This review will look at ensuring we serve all stations during disruption as well as aiming to minimise the overcrowding which can occur after services have been suspended. We will also review our policy for assisting customers who become trapped on trains when incidents occur.
Whilst our priority remains to reduce service disruption, we are realistic that there will still be some incidents that delay travel on our railways. We will improve the quality of information we provide when problems occur and have begun a training programme for all customer facing staff which will focus on customer service and therefore on their capability during times of disruption. During the summer we will also be giving over 1,500 smartphones to our staff to improve their access to information about any problems as well as ensuring they understand the contingency plans and can offer advice and alternative options to customers during disruption.

We are also expanding the range of ways you can stay up to date with the latest information on the move and this includes our new Smartphone App, available by searching 'Greater Anglia' at your app store, our Twitter account @greateranglia, our email alerts and a new text alert service which will be introduced later this year.

We would like to thank all our customers for their patience since the start of the Greater Anglia franchise and reiterate our commitment to improving our train service and the quality of information you receive when problems occur.

Ruud Haket, Managing Director, Greater Anglia
Dave Ward, Route Managing Director, Network Rail Anglia

Railhub Archive ::: 2012-03-16 ABB-001


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