Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Christmas Services

Details of Christmas and New Year services are now available on the Greater Anglia website 

Snow Updates

Greater Anglia have a number of ways of keeping passengers updated during times of disruption. With the potential for problems over the winter period the following information may be useful:

Check for the latest information and updates via the GA website at 

Follow all the latest news, information and advice live via the GA Twitter feed

Email alerts
Travel regularly? Get information about your journey anytime. Sign up at

Free GA mobile app
Plan train journeys, check live train running and get London Transport updates with the free app. Just search for ‘Greater Anglia’ at your app store.

Text alerts
You can now receive alerts for your regular journey via the GA text service. Sign up at

By phone
All the latest updates and journey planning advice from National Rail Enquiries - 08457 48 49 50

Live departure boards
Live information by station available online, or via the MacWidget/Windows Gadget. More details at

On station
75% of GA stations have help points providing information and assistance 24 hours a day.

Train Tracker™ text
Text your start and end stations to 84950 to get the next train times for your journey. (Texts cost 25p).

Friday, 30 November 2012

Greater Anglia "Print Your Own Ticket" Facilty Available

Following a successful pilot scheme in the summer Greater Anglia have now rolled out their scheme allowing passengers to purchase and print their own Advance train tickets to London and certain other routes at home, or download them to mobile phones.

For details click here

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Rail Fares Set To Rise

Rail Fares are set to rise by just over 4% in the new year.  The rise should actually have been greater but for intervention by the government to limit it to 1% over inflation - the original target being 3% plus inflation.

Annual season tickets from Manningtree will increase to £5,060 from £4,860.

Wi-Fi Coming To Manningtree Station

Wi-Fi will soon be available at Manningtree Station.  Greater Anglia is working with The Cloud to rollout Wi-Fi access to stations in Essex and Manningtree is on the list to be included.

Passengers will be able to use the service free of charge for one hour a day with BSkyB customers having unlimited access.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Poor Rail Replacement Service

The MRUA has received a number of complaints about the poor weekend rail replacement service that has involved trains going to Witham with buses taking passengers to Billericay to catch a further train for intermediate stations to London.

Specific issues include:

  • Unhelpful staff with a poor attitude at Witham Station, despite there clearly being chaos all around.
  • Surly coach drivers
  • Passengers having to unload their own luggage from coaches
  • General chaos

The MRUA has raised this with Greater Anglia.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Mums To Be - Did You Know?

If you are pregnant and in your last eight weeks of pregnancy before maternity leave, you may apply for an authority to travel which will allow you to sit in a First Class seat if there are no seats available in Standard Class.

To obtain this authority you must be in possession of a season ticket photo card.  If you do not hold such a card please take a recent passport size / style photograph to any Greater Anglia ticket office.  A photocard will created for you free of charge.

For more information, please click here

Friday, 19 October 2012

Passenger Focus Disappointment For Greater Anglia

In Passenger Focus's Autumn Report Greater Anglia does not come out well in a couple of areas highlighted by the passenger watchdog.

Overall Satisfaction scores on individual routes in the country varied from 97% (Merseyrail - Wirral) down to 70% (First Capital Connect, Thameslink and Greater Anglia)

Value for Money satisfaction varies from 75% (ScotRail - rural) down to 23% for Greater Anglia Mainline.

Record Breaking Performance At Greater Anglia

Greater Anglia has issued the following press release which is self explanatory:

Greater Anglia - the region’s train operator – has reported further improvements in train service performance, recording its best train punctuality results yet for the four-week period ended 13 October, with a public performance measure (PPM) of 95.03%. This is the highest PPM figure recorded for any four-week period since the current franchise structure for East Anglia was introduced in 2004, and the first time that franchise-wide performance in excess of 95% has been achieved in a single period.

Greater Anglia has consistently delivered improvement in train punctuality since taking over the franchise in February and the moving annual average (MAA) punctuality - measuring performance over a 12 month average - has improved to a new-high of 91.7%, which is the best MAA figure for the East Anglia franchise area for at least 12 years.

The entire Greater Anglia network again performed well in the most recent period ended 13 October. Metro services between Liverpool Street and Shenfield / Southend Victoria achieved their highest-ever period punctuality of 97% and annual average punctuality of 94.3% is also at an all-time high. The Mainline route recorded 95% period punctuality and the MAA has improved to 90.8% - in both cases these are the best results recorded for the Mainline route in the past 12 years (and on a much more intensively-used route).

Elsewhere, services on the Rural routes network in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire saw period punctuality of 94% and an improving annual average performance now standing at 92.2%. The West Anglia network also performed exceptionally well with punctuality of 94.7% and Stansted Express 92.2%.

The improvement in train service performance achieved by Greater Anglia since February reflects the ‘alliance’ the train operator has established with Network Rail as part of the current franchise. This is providing a real focus on improving performance and when problems do occur improved contingency plans are helping to ensure that the service can recover more quickly following any disruption. Greater Anglia’s train fleet is also operating more reliably and its Class 90 locomotives and Mk3 coaches on intercity services are currently the second most reliable intercity fleet in the rail industry.

Ruud Haket, Managing Director Greater Anglia said: “I am delighted that over 95% of Greater Anglia trains arrived on time for the past four weeks, achieving our best-ever levels of punctuality and improving still further on the excellent performance we delivered over the Olympics and Paralympics Games.

“Our alliance with Network Rail and excellent reliability of our fleet of trains has again helped to achieve the best four-week period of performance in this franchise so far. We are not complacent however, and there remains more work to do in delivering consistent levels of train service performance for our customers across London and East Anglia, and we will continue to work with our colleagues at Network Rail, focusing on further improvement.”

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

No Change To Greater Anglia Franchise Timetable

Ben Gummer, MP for Ipswich, raised the question in parliament of whether the process to decide the next franchise currently run by Greater Anglia will be delayed by the recent West Coast Mainline franchise debacle.  The Minister for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin assured him that the process to determine the next franchise here should not slip.

The next franchise is due to run for fifteen years, starting in mid 2014, with consultation due to commence in 2013.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Greater Anglia on BBC Essex

Greater Anglia are due to be on the Dave Monk show on BBC Essex this coming Friday, the 19th October.  If you would like to raise any issues with the company who run our trains then please contact BBC Essex on 01245 495050 or alternatively via email at:

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Leaf Fall Timetbale In Operation

The annual Leaf Fall Timetable is now in operation and will continue until until 7th December 2012.  Details can be found here

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Reduction In Weekend Engineering Works

Network Rail and Greater Anglia have announced that there will be significant fewer disruptions in 2013 caused by engineering work. Also, for the first time in many years disruption this Christmas will be kept to a minimum.

Under the new plans scheduled for 2013 on the GE Mainline, only two Saturdays are affected by engineering work that will require a replacement bus service.  There will be no disruption requiring replacement buses from the end of March to October.

Since 2007, there have been on average 30 weekends a year requiring bus replacement services.  In 2013, there will only be 7 planned weekends of such disruptive engineering work.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Inter City Carriage Refurbishment

The rail media is reporting that East Midlands Trains are now intending to bid for the refurbishment work of the Mk3 carriages used on the London - Norwich services.  Greater Anglia has confirmed that work is likely to start next year with the carriages receiving [another] coat of paint in GA white with red doors.

Interior improvements have been discussed and the work may include automatic plug-doors which have been successfully implemented on the same carriages used on the Chiltern Line.  Such work would extend the life of these coaches considerably raising questions about future plans for new trains on this line.

Ageing Greater Anglia Trains

The average age of trains run by Greater Anglia is now 24.72 years which is significantly higher than the national average of 17.93 years.  This puts Greater Anglia (GA) in 4th spot overall for the oldest fleet on the network.  Although GA is carrying out a deep clean of its trains as part of its franchise agreement, nobody can deny that the fleet needs some significant work carried out on it to counter the age and poor condition of the trains.

'Meet The Manager' At Liverpool Street

There will be a Meet The Manager session at Liverpool Street station this Wednesday, the 19th, from 16:30 to 18:30.  This is an opportunity for Greater Anglia customers to ask questions of the station's management team.

If you are unable to make the session but have a question you can use the Twitter hashtag #ttmga

Monday, 10 September 2012

Petition Against Fare Increases

A petition has been set up on the government's e-petition website to protest against rail fare increases.  Unfortunately the wording is not perhaps as good as it might have been but if enough people sign up for it then perhaps the government will take note.

The petition can be found here

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Anger At East Anglian Rail Subsidies

An article in today's East Anglian Daily Times (EADT) highlights the extraoridinary way that passengers in this region are heavily subsidising other parts of the rail network while we endure all but the oldest trains in the country and a level of underinvestment that adversely affects the service we receive on a daily basis.

Members of the ERUF committee, of which the MRUA is a member,  will be meeting Simon Burns, MP for Chelmsford and recently appointed Transport Minister, on the 10th September and this ridiculous situation will be top of the agenda.

The full story in the EADT can be found here.

Friday, 17 August 2012

The "Cancelled" 05:54

For the second time in recent months we have had another instance of a train being "cancelled" only for passengers to see it hurtle through Manningtree station less than half empty.  Yesterday's 5:54 ex Manningtree to Liverpool Street was "cancelled" due to Level Crossing problems at Diss.  However the train passed through Manningtree (and Colchester too).  As before, a passenger from Stowmarket who uses this train confirmed there were less than 10 passengers in their carriage - this in a train with standing room only on a normal day. 

The MRUA understands that the Controller took this action as the train was running 17 minutes late and there was a danger of the return service being delayed.  A cynic may think this demonstrates very clearly that statistics showing trains running on time are more important to Greater Anglia than providing good Customer Service.

The MRUA awaits a full explanation.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

New Manningtree - Liv St Season Ticket Price

For information the proposed price increases will see an annual season ticket from Manningtree to London go up from £4,860 to £5,161.  That is an increase of £512 in 2 years. Extraordinary really.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

"Above Inflation Rail Fare Increases Are A Tax On Users"

The Essex Rail Users Federation , of which the MRUA is a member, has this morning issued the following press release:

The new rail fare increases are grossly unfair and a tax on Essex rail users” says the Chairman of Essex Rail Users Federation, Derek Monnery.

The Rail Minister, Theresa Villiers, said on Breakfast television this morning that a 3% surcharge on fares was to be charged in January 2013 to pay for rail improvements.  However, Essex is not the beneficiary of any of the planned rail investment with all of it being spent elsewhere.   So the 3% rise is effectively a tax on rail fares. 

Even this might be tolerable if the rail service was good.  Rail passengers have persistently scored local train operators near the bottom of the national poll for rail satisfaction.   This is due to the scruffy condition of much of the rolling stock and repeated infrastructure failures causing train delays.

Derek Monnery concluded “Without serious investment in the Essex rail network a 3% surcharge on our fares is quite unjustifiable.  We are already starting to receive angry feedback from Essex rail users. 

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Buy And Print Tickets At Home

A pilot scheme has been introduced to enable passengers to purchase and print tickets at home.  The pilot will be available on the London - Norwich route, connecting stations from Harwich, connecting trains from Sheringham and connecting stations from Great Yarmouth to London.

Passengers will be able to book and pay for their tickets online and then choose to print them at home or if they prefer download them to the Greater Anglia phone app.

The pilot will be rolled out over the remainder of connecting stations into the mainline and any other routes where advanced tickets are available.

Details at 

Greater Anglia Smart Phone App Updated

Greater Anglia (GA) have updated their smart phone app to add more features.  Highlights include:

  • The ability to search for stations close to customers' location and obtaining train times from that station including next departure.
  • The GA Twitter Feed is now embedded within the app providing up to date information about services.
  • Additional information for passengers traveling onwards to London, including a journey planner ad live updates about the status of the tube and London buses.
These features are in addition to the existing facilities that include the ability to book train tickets, check train times for future journeys and view live departure boards at all UK rail stations.

The free app is available on iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Windows phones.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Our Rail Problems Go Global!

Interesting to note that the media stories regarding heat affected services on the GE mainline have been seen online in:
  • Chelmsford Weekly News
  • Telegraph
  • Express
  • Daily Mail
  • MSNBC (USA/Online)
  • Atlantic Cities (USA)
  • WKZO (USA)
  • WTAQ (USA)
  • WSAU (USA)
  • WHTC (USA)
  • Reuters
  • Malaysia Star
  • CNBC
  • Chicago Tribune
  • Norwich Evening News
  • Reuters Africa
  • Globe & Mail (Canada)
  • Metro
  • ITV News
  • Irish Examiner
  • Independent
  • TNT Magazine
and the Evening Standard.

Stories about trains not stopping at Stratford (THE Olympic station!) to avoid delays, will not show our railways in the best light.  Take note Network Rail and Greater Anglia!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Would A Poor Rail Service Affect The Way You Vote?

The ongoing problems suffered by Manningtree commuters almost daily, caused mainly by lack of investment in infrastructure, and the ever increasing costs in traveling by train have prompted some to suggest it would affect the way they vote at the next election.

Would your vote be affected by the local train service?  Let us know at

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Beaulieu Park - New Station

It is understood that work will start on constructing the first of the new houses at Beaulieu Park, north of Chelmsford, in March 2013. Importantly for Manningtree passengers, initial work on the new station there is currently out to tender, so could start soon. The new station will include long passing loops to enable fast trains to pass slower ones thereby improving journey times.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Inter City Coaches To Be Refurbished

Rumours in the media suggesting Greater Anglia are making plans to refurbish the Mark 3 Inter City carriages that make up the London - Norwich services.  The refurbishment will include a repaint into GA white with the red doors, cosmetic and corrosion repairs.  Interior improvements including new seats and improved lighting have also been discussed apparently.

A single restaurant car has already been been treated because it needed additional work carried out but rumours suggest the rest of the fleet will be done next year.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Rail Manifesto

If you would like a copy of the Rail Manifesto that was launched on Monday, please contact us at and we will email a copy to you.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Manifesto For A Better Rail Service Launched

A prospectus entitled Once in a Generation - A Rail Prospectus for East Anglia has been launched by an alliance of interested parties claiming that the existing rail network is holding back economic performance in Essex, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Norfolk.

The document is seen as a realistic and technically feasable programme of improvements between now and 2032.

Improvements of interest to local passengers include infrastructure upgrades on the Great Eastern Mainline, new trains and increased frequency on branch lines.

The prospectus is being supported by local MPs, over 25 local authorities and 19 Rail User Groups including the MRUA as part of the Essex Rail Users Federation.

Olympics Train Information Available

Details of timetable changes to accommodate the London Olympics are available for download from the Greater Anglia website.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Greater Anglia Passengers The Least Satisfied

A survey carried out by the passenger watchdog, Passenger Focus, earlier in the year shows passengers in this region the least satisfied in the country.

The results put Great Anglia (GA) at the bottom when it came to value for money, punctuality, stations, how the company dealt with delays and overall satisfaction with the service.  A lowly 30% said the service provided value for money.

The survey was taken shortly after Greater Anglia took over the franchise, so much of the criticism is leveled at National Express East Anglia and indeed GA claim punctuality is up to 93% from when they took over when it was 88%.

Regular passengers will know however that there is much to do.  Unfortunately the shortness of the current franchise makes the long term investment desperately needed unlikely.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Greater Anglia Staff To Ballot For Strike Action

Greater Anglia (GA) staff are to be balloted for strike action over Olympic payments.  RMT members will vote on strike action after they rejected an offer from GA.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

MP Requests Improved Disabled Access For Manningtree

Bernard Jenkin MP has written to the department for Transport requesting disabled access at Manningtree Station be improved.  The MRUA has been campaigning for improved access for some time and any improvement would be welcomed by many.

Currently access to and from platform 3 can only be made via the narrow subway which involves steep steps.  Those in wheelchairs have to seek assistance to be escorted across the track.  The situation has been made worse by effectively turning Manningtree into a terminus for Harwich trains making the need to change platforms an issue for even more people.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Changes To Departure Boards At Liverpool Street - Your Thoughts?

The main departure boards at Liverpool Street were today changed to reflect the geographical groupings detailed in the previous post.  The MRUA certainly has a view on this but would be interested to hear your thoughts?  Contact us at

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Liverpool Steet Departure Boards Are Changing

Network Rail will be making changes to the main departure boards at Liverpool Street on Wednesday 28th March.  The boards will be split into three sections based on the geographic groupings of services.

Section 1 will display services to:
King’s Lynn, Cambridge, Stansted Airport, Bishop's Stortford, Hertford East, Enfield Town and Chingford

Section 2 will feature a ‘Special Notice’ display, giving our customers additional general information concerning train services.

Section 3 will display services to:
Norwich, Ipswich, Harwich Town, Walton-on-the-Naze, Clacton-on-Sea, Colchester, Colchester Town, Braintree, Southminster, Southend Victoria, Shenfield and Gidea Park.

There will be no change to the current Stansted Express information on the departure board.

Monday, 5 March 2012

5:54 Ex Manningtree 5th March

The MRUA have asked Greater Anglia for an explanation as to why the 05:54 was 'cancelled' this morning.  Passengers at Manningtree were told it was cancelled due to overrunning engineering work only to see the train hurtle through the station without stopping.  The train didn't stop at Colchester either and arrived at Liverpool Street all but empty of passengers.

Those left at Manningtree endured a slow train to Liverpool Street heaving with passengers.

A cynic might think the 5:54 was allowed to avoid Manningtree and Colchester so as to arrive at Liverpool Street within ten minutes of its booked time and therefore not be logged as late.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

A Rise In 'Signals Passed At Danger'

The number of Signals Passed At Danger (SPADs) incidents in East Anglia more than doubled last year according to figures released by National Express East Anglia.

In its annual report, National express revealed that the number of SPADS went up from 0.44 per million miles in 2010 to 0.96 per million miles in 2011.  That works out at about 20 incidents on the entire East Anglian network throughout the year.

In 2010 there were only 9 SPADs in the region.  However this number was regarded as an exception with 2011 providing figures more in line with the norm.

NXEA confirmed that the vast majority of SPADs involved trains passing a signal by only a metre or two usually as a result of slippery rails.  Details of more serious SPADs were not provided.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Greater Anglia Launch Ticket App

Greater Anglia have today launched an app to enable passengers to purchase tickets via their iPhone, Android, Blackberry or Ovi phones. iPhone users can also download timetables that can be used offline.

Details can be found at

Greater Anglia Starts Today

Today sees the start of the Abellio Greater Anglia franchise.  It is unlikely that any major changes will be forthcoming in the short term but details of their services can be found at

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Passenger Fined For Crossing The Tracks At Manningtree

A passenger has been fined £100 for crossing the tracks at Manningtree rather than use the subway.  Toby Millet ignored warnings from staff and became abusive when challenged.

In addition to the fine - which was deemed as paid through time spent in custody - Millet was also ordered to pay £85 costs and fined another £85 for 'failing to surrender' as he turned up at court on the wrong day.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

MRUA Requesting Action On Pedestrian Access To Station

The MRUA has approached Essex County Council, Tendring District Council and Lawford Parish Council requesting action be taken to reduce the dangers to pedestrians and cyclists as they approach the station.  Pedestrians take their lives in their hands crossing the various roads to get the station and this is particularly dangerous at the bottom of Station Approach where vehicles often negotiate the entrance far too fast.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Help With Travel During The Olympics

A useful website is now available offering information about transport hotspots during the Olympics this summer.  Details at:

Friday, 27 January 2012

NXEA Come Bottom In Customer Satisfaction Survey

In the latest Customer Satisfaction Survey conducted by Passenger Focus, National Express East Anglia came a very poor last scoring only 77% - a full 3% less than the next worst performer First Capital Connect.  Rather worryingly Northern Rail - another Abellio franchise - only scored 83%.

On a more positive note Merseyrail, the third franchise with Abellio connections, came third overall with 93%.

Grand Central came top with an impressive 95%.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

New Management For Abellio Franchise

With less than 2 weeks to go to the launch of the new Greater Anglia franchise, Abellio has announced the board of directors who will lead the company for the next 29 months.  Only one of the NXEA management team appears to have moved across.

  • Ruud Haket - Managing Director
  • Andrew Goodrum - Customer Services Director
  • Adam Golton - Finance Director
  • Thijs Jan Noomen - Projects Director
  • John Ratcliffe - Engineering Director
  • Nanouke van ‘t Riet - Operations Director
  • Andrew Camp - Commercial Director
  • Simone Bailey - Asset Management Director
  • Dave Welham - interim HR Director

Friday, 20 January 2012

Rail Fare Rises in 2013 & 2014 To Stay At RPI+3%

The government has confirmed that rail fare rises at the start of 2013 and 2014 are to stay at RPI+3 per cent. The rise at the start of this month was kept to RPI+1 per cent, after a policy u-turn announced by the Chancellor at the end of November, but nothing was said at the time about what would happen in future years.

The confirmation has come in its announcement about the issuing of Invitations to Tender for the next Intercity West Coast franchise.

In a note attached to the ITT statement, the Department said: 'The ITT for the InterCity West Coast franchise follows the current agreed regulated fares policy as set out in the 2011 Comprehensive Spending Review – a rise in 2012 of RPI + 1 per cent and RPI + 3 per cent for 2013 and 2014, returning to RPI + 1% thereafter. Over the long term we are committed to reducing the cost of running the railways and the goal of ending the era of above-inflation fare increases.'

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Changes To Departure Boards At Liverpool Street

Network Rail, NXEA and Atos are making plans to change the information currently displayed on the main departure boards at Liverpool Street.  The main board will be split into 3 sections as follows:

Section 1 will display services to: King’s Lynn,Cambridge, Stansted Airport, Bishop's Stortford, Hertford East, Enfield Town and Chingford

Section 2 will feature a ‘Special Notice’ display, giving passengers additional general information concerning train services.

Section 3 will display services to: Norwich, Ipswich, Harwich Town, Walton-on-the-Naze, Clacton-on-Sea, Colchester, Colchester Town, Braintree, Southminster, Southend Victoria, Shenfield and Gidea Park.

There will be no change to the current Stansted Express information on the main departure board.

It does not appear that the actual technology is changing so the most common criticism received about the clarity of the boards is not being addressed.

Monday, 9 January 2012

NXEA 'Tweet The Manager'

There will soon be another opportunity for users of Twitter to talk to senior NXEA managers.  The next 'Tweet the Manager' session will be on 17th January between 1630 and 1830.  Train Planning and Performance Managers will be in attendance.  Use hashtag #ttmnxea