Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Rail Strike to Face Legal Challenge

Network Rail has started a legal bid to halt the planned strikes by railway signallers and maintenance staff belonging to the RMT and TSSA unions. Strikes are due to start from Tuesday next week.

Network Rail are arguing that "scores of discrepancies and inaccuracies" were contained in the signallers' ballot.

The strike centres on Network Rail plans to cut 1,500 jobs and increase evening and weekend maintenance work.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Strike Days - Compensation

Reports in the media suggest that compensation may not be payable to season ticket passengers if the Train Operating Company (In our case NXEA) manage to run a skeleton service. The wording in the NXEA message dated 26th March (see below) would seem to back this up.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Strike Disruption - Harwich Branch

National Express East Anglia has confirmed that at the current time there are no plans to run trains on the Harwich branch line during the planned strike by the RMT and TSSA unions, as Network Rail will not be able to man the signal boxes needed.

Friday, 26 March 2010

NXEA Service Provision On Strike Days

National Express East Anglia has issued the following statement regarding services during the proposed strike by RMT and TSSA unions:

"We are working to provide the best possible alternative timetable in the event Network Rail's signaller?s belonging to the RMT and TSSA unions take strike action.

Where alternative services are not available, customers including season-ticket holders will be eligible to apply for a refund for the days affected.

Customers with pre-booked tickets will be offered the option to travel at other times of the day, or to travel on another day or apply for a refund. Full details of these arrangements will be available in due course.

The following is an outline of the alternative timetable service we are planning to operate between approximately 0700 and 1900 inclusive on the 6th, 7th, 8th, & 9th April.

- 2 x Intercity services per hour at peak time between London Liverpool Street, Stratford, Chelmsford, Colchester, Manningtree, Ipswich, Stowmarket, Diss and Norwich (Off peak Intercity services will run as per the normal calling pattern)

- 2 x 12 car services per hour between Liverpool Street, Stratford, Shenfield and all stations to Ipswich

- 2 x 12 car services per hour between Liverpool Street, Stratford, Shenfield and all stations to Southend Victoria

- 4 x 12 car services per hour between Liverpool Street, Tottenham Hale, Harlow Town, Bishops Stortford and Stansted Airport

- 2 x 8 car services per hour between Liverpool Street, Tottenham Hale, Cheshunt, Broxbourne, Sawbridgeworth and all stations to Cambridge

Branch line services operating:

- Romford - Upminster: a shuttle service

- Witham - Braintree: a shuttle service

- Marks Tey - Sudbury: a shuttle service

- Norwich - Sheringham: a shuttle service

For the latest information on how possible industrial action will affect national train services please visit or call National Rail Enquiries on 08457 48 49 50".

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Strikes Threatened By RMT & TSSA 6-9 April Inclusive

RMT and TSSA union members who work for Network Rail, specifically track and signal workers, are threatening to strike from Tuesday 6th April to Friday 9 April inclusive. National Express East Anglia will be publishing details in due course of how services will be affected.

The network can function for a short while without track maintenance workers so long as major repairs are not required. However, if the signalmen go on strike then no trains will run.

The RMT have in the past threatened to strike only to call it off at the last moment, having already caused disruption with people making alternative arrangements.

More Trains Running On Time

Network Rail has released punctuality figures showing that 5.5% more trains run by National Express East Anglia are running on time. The figures showed that between 7th February and 6th March 92% of NXEA services ran on time.

'On time' means that a train arrived at its final destination within 5 minutes (10 minutes for Inter City services) of the advertised time.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Essex CC Undertakes To Protect Essex Passengers

Replying to an enquiry by the MRUA, Essex County Council has confirmed that it will be seeking to protect the journeys of Essex passengers should this become an issue as a consequence of the Norwich in 90 campaign. (see article dated 5th March)

Friday, 19 March 2010

May 2010 Timetable Changes

National Express East Anglia have announced the changes to the summer timetable due to commence on 23rd May 2010. The only changes that directly affect Manningtree are earlier start times of the 0610, 0625, 0640, 0655 and 0710 Norwich - London services which will start 5 minutes earlier during the 'leaf fall period' between 1st October and 11th December.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Maximum Score For Liverpool St. Team

Liverpool Street station has scored 100% for customer service, cleanliness and information provision in the most recent 'mystery shopper' survey carried out at the station.

Interestingly this result is in stark contrast to comments received from Manningtree passengers who find many of the staff at Liverpool Street surly and unhelpful. Also, the new indicator boards at the station have been the subject of much criticism since their implementation.

Friday, 12 March 2010

MRUA Response DfT Consultation Paper Re New Franchise

The MRUA has today sent a response to the Department for Transport consultation paper covering the requirements for the new franchisee that will replace National Express East Anglia next year. The response has been compiled following feedback from Manningtree and Harwich branch line passengers and local councils.

If you would like an electronic copy please email us at and we will happily send you one. Unfortunately printing costs prevent us from sending out hard copies.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Norwich in 90

There has been much coverage in the media about a campaign being backed by MPs, councils and local businesses in Norfolk called Norwich in 90. This campaign sets out to see journey times between London and Norwich reduced to 90 minutes.

The MRUA recognises that there are probably three ways that this can be done, as follows:
  • Improvements to the rail infrastructure to allow for faster running of services.
  • Introduction of new trains with better acceleration and braking characteristics specifically designed for the length of journey and stopping patterns.
  • A reduction in the number of stops made by London - Norwich services.
The MRUA happily supports the idea of improving the rail infrastructure and introducing new trains better suited to this route. Such improvements would benefit all passengers who use the London to Norwich services. However, in reducing the number of stops there is a danger that Manningtree, along with Colchester and Chelmsford, could see some Norwich services no longer stopping at these stations.

In light of the growing publicity surrounding the Norwich in 90 campaign - which enjoys the full backing of Norfolk County Council - the MRUA has written to Essex County Council requesting information on what they will be doing to safeguard the Inter City services currently calling at Manningtree.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

NXEA Requested To Remove Abandoned Car

The MRUA has asked NXEA to remove what appears to be an abandoned Mondeo that has been parked in front of the station for a number of weeks now.