Thursday, 30 September 2010

Tube Strike Reminder

A message from Transport for London:

"The RMT and TSSA unions plan strike action on the Tube. This will affect Tube services from early evening on Sunday 3 October and throughout Monday 4 October. Some lines may have a limited service and some stations may close. Please check before you travel on the day."

National Express East Anglia services are not affected although they may be busier towards London.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

NXEA To Hold Dec 2010 Timetable 'Surgery' On 14th October

Representatives from National Express East Anglia (NXEA) will be at Manningtree station on 14th October between 17:00 and 20:00 to assist with any queries passengers may have about the new timetable due to come into operation in December.  This new timetable is a radical departure from the normal subtle changes that take place twice a year and almost all services are affected.

NXEA has also set up a dedicated email address to take queries regarding the new timetable which can be accessed here.

Manningtree Station Top For Service Quality

Manningtree Station has come top in the latest review of National Express East Anglia (NXEA) stations for Service Quality Standards gaining a score of 98%.  NXEA manages 197 stations throughout East Anglia and this award reflects the outstanding contribution made by the staff at Manningtree. All NXEA stations are assessed for customer service and quality standards on a regular basis by independent assessors or ‘mystery shoppers’ who visit stations and experience the service as any member of the public would. The mystery shoppers are entirely independent of the train operator and rate the provision of customer service and cleanliness in all parts of the station, as well as assessing the quality of public address announcements and information provided.

Many have commented on how good the level of service is at the station with helpful and friendly staff when compared to other locations where service is often of a questionable standard. This service is maintained despite occasional demanding and unreasonable behaviour from some passengers and being at the sharp end during periods of disruption.

The MRUA would like to congratulate the staff at Manningtree for this award.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

New Timetable Highlights

The new timetable announced by National Express East Anglia sees a significant change to the services being provided at Manningtree.

In the morning peak between 05:25 and 08:53 there will be an additional three services to London - an increase of 23% - and an additional 2,842 seats - an increase of 42%.  This has been achieved by reducing the number of Inter City trains stopping at the station and increasing the number of outer suburban sliding door trains, which have greater capacity.  Eleven services will call at Stratford - up from the current six - and the fastest journey time to London will be improved by 6 minutes to 58 minutes.

In the evening peak between 16:00 and 20:00 there will be an additional three trains from London - an increase of 19% - and an additional 2,943 seats - an increase of 34%.  Again these increases come at the cost of losing a number of Inter City services.  There will be more services calling at Stratford on their way home from Liverpool Street.

During the day there will still be two Inter City services an hour in each direction calling at Manningtree. There will also be a service to and from Ipswich to Liverpool Street giving three trains an hour in each direction.

The Harwich line will see off peak services terminating at Manningtree although the overall journey time, subject to connections, reduces by 6 minutes (9 minutes from London).  (The MRUA continues to campaign for a more appropriate method for the less able of getting from platform 1 to platforms 2 and 3. Something which will become more of an issue with fewer through trains)

In the morning peak the 07:15 from Harwich International and the 07:16 and 07:58 from Harwich Town will go through to London.

New December Timetables Published

The new timetable due to come into force in December has been published by National Express East Anglia (NXEA). Details can be found on the NXEA website.

Manningtree passengers should note that trains for Manningtree appear on two separate timetables (Liverpool Street to Colchester, Clacton-on-Sea and Ipswich and Liverpool Street to Ipswich and Norwich) with services between Manningtree and Harwich appearing on a third - Manningtree to Harwich Town.  All timetables will need to be viewed to get a complete picture of services.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Passenger Robbed And Knocked Unconscious

British Transport Police (BTP) are appealing for witnesses after a man was allegedly knocked unconscious and robbed on a train somewhere between Colchester and Ipswich stations. The incident is alleged to have taken place after the man boarded the train at Colchester at 12:30pm on Saturday.

On the train the man is alleged to have been struck on the back of the neck whilst near to the buffet car, leaving him to fall unconscious for a short while. Assisted by rail staff he was taken to Ipswich Hospital where he later claimed that £800 was missing from his wallet.

Anyone with information is asked to contact BTP on Freefone 0800 405040.

NXEA Get Seven Month Extension To Franchise

The Department for Transport has extended the franchise of National Express East Anglia for another seven months beyond the current expiry date of March 2011. The original franchise agreement had a three year extension beyond this date but this was cancelled following on from National Express handing back its East Coast franchise.

National Express Group Chief Executive Dean Finch commented "We are pleased to have been given this initial extension and to be able to continue to serve our customers on the East Anglia franchise. We continue to explore opportunities to deliver our industry-leading rail performance across both our franchises (referring to C2C as well) beyond 2011." It is not clear what he means by "industry leading".

The re-franchising exercise to find a replacement for NXEA was put on hold after the general election following the new government's announcement that it would be reviewing the whole franchising process. Today's announcement would suggest that a new franchising process will be in place by the end of 2011 but this would take the possible change of franchisee very close to the 2012 Olympics which may further delay an announcement.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

NXEA Punctuality At 93.5% For Month To 21 Aug

NXEA ran 93.5% of services on time in the period between 25th July and 21st August.  The main causes of hold-ups being a serious lineside fire at Romford and a fatality at Enfield Lock.  This figure contrasts with 98.8% achieved by C2C (a National Express company) between Southend and London Fenchurch Street which is the best ever recorded on Britain's railways.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Hadleigh Community Transport Group Launch New Bus Service to Manningtree

The Hadleigh Community Transport Group has recently launched a new bus service between Hadleigh and Manningtree station.  The number 796 will leave Hadleigh at 05:56, arriving at Manningtree at 06:22 and in the evenings the service will leave Manningtree at 18:35 arriving at Hadleigh at 19:00.

Full details as follows:

Monday – Friday (except public holidays)                                                                       

Hadleigh Magdalen Road       0556 
Upper Layham                 0600 
Raydon opp Church            0603               
Holton St Mary opp phone box 0609 
East Bergholt Four Sisters   0611 
East Bergholt Lambe School   0613 
East Bergholt Rectory Road   0615 
Cattawade slip road          0618 
Manningtree Rail Station     0622 

Manningtree Rail Station     1835
Cattawade slip road          1838
E Bergholt Rectory Road      1841
East Bergholt Lambe School   1843
East Bergholt Four Sisters   1845
Holton St Mary phone box     1847
Raydon opp Church            1851
Upper Layham                 1856
Hadleigh Magdalen Road       1900

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

NXEA Asked To Explain Early Termination Of Train

The MRUA has asked National Express East Anglia (NXEA) for an explanation following the decision to terminate the 17:20 ex Liverpool Street at Colchester on Monday 6th September.

Services were already severely delayed due to signal problems and the service in question was running almost an hour late when the decision was taken to terminate at Colchester. As such passengers were delayed for almost another hour with those hoping to meet a connection at Manningtree for the Harwich branch further inconvenienced.

There are suggestions that the serious overcrowding at Colchester station partly caused by this train terminating may have compromised passenger safety.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Tube Strike Contingency Plans Announced

Contingency plans to assist people in getting to work during next week's planned tube strike have been unveiled by Transport for London (TfL). Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) and the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) are protesting against plans to cut 800 ticket office jobs, although no compulsory redundancies are planned.

Details of contingency plans for the 6th and 7th September can be found on the TfL website.