Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Ticket Office Availability

Following on from pressure by the MRUA, Bernard Jenkin MP has received an acknowledgement from Greater Anglia that the ticket office at Manningtree has been subject to "unscheduled closures" in recent months.  This has been caused by long term staff sickness and other stations nearby being subject to higher than usual long term sickness making relief cover difficult to balance.

Greater Anglia now state that Manningtree is back up to full strength having employed new members of staff to fill gaps left by ill health, retirement and redeployment.

Greater Anglia also caveat their assurances by stating there may still be occasions where the office is closed temporarily due to train despatch duties and to provide platform assistance to those who have requested it.

The MRUA will continue to monitor the situation as best we can but please do let us know if you find the ticket office closed for long periods.

Friday, 8 November 2013

New MD for Greater Anglia

Abellio, the parent company of Greater Anglia, this afternoon issued the following press release:


Following the conclusion of a rigorous selection process, Abellio UK has selected Jamie Burles to succeed Ruud Haket as Managing Director of the Abellio Greater Anglia franchise.

Commenting on the appointment, Abellio UK Managing Director Dominic Booth said: “We are delighted to appoint Jamie as MD of the Abellio Greater Anglia business. Ruud and the team have done an amazing job in a very short time, and we were determined to find a replacement with the calibre and inspirational qualities to maintain the momentum for change and improvement across the whole franchise. Jamie will do just that.”

Jamie is a Bid Director at Abellio UK, where he is currently managing the company’s bid for the new Thameslink franchise. He will continue in that role until the decision on franchise award, and will take the reins at Abellio Greater Anglia on 1 April 2014.

Commenting on his appointment, Jamie said “I’m looking forward immensely to being part of what is already a very dynamic and successful team at Abellio Greater Anglia. Building on the impressive start they have made, and delivering even more exciting improvements for passengers will be my sole focus. Abellio Greater Anglia serves one of the fastest growing regions in the country, and a modern, efficient, attractive rail network will be crucial to sustaining that growth.”

Prior to joining Abellio UK, Jamie had experience as an MD in the healthcare sector and Commercial Director roles within Northern Rail, Vax and Midland Mainline.

Ruud Haket will leave the business at the end of January 2014. Adam Golton, currently Finance Director of Abellio Greater Anglia, will be appointed Interim Managing Director to provide continuity until Jamie arrives. "

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Refurbished Class 321

The long awaited refurbished class 321 train - (The Class 321 often referred to as the green sliding door trains) has now arrived at Ilford sheds prior to going into service on the Greater Anglia line in December.

This is an experiment to demonstrate how an ageing train can be given a new lease of life at a fraction of the cost of a new one.  The seating will be a mix of 3+2 and 2+2 to gauge reaction from users.

Details of the train can be found here.

Let us know what you think of the train if you get the opportunity of travelling on it.

Storm Damage

Now the dust has settled after the recent storm and the disruption it caused has finished, a couple of facts about the damage caused.  Firstly, over 240 trees fell on or close to tracks in the Greater Anglia region.  Over 40 of these were on the Braintree line alone. Whilst Network Rail have been clearing trees from near the railway in recent years there are still many on private land that can cause disruption in severe weather.

Secondly there were six instances of overhead wires being damage.  Experience has shown that wires coming down causes significant disruption at the best of times.  To have six instances at once stretches the resources of Network Rail to the limit.

Most passengers have been understanding of the problems caused by the weather with he biggest criticism being lack of communication.  However this seems to depend on where you were on the network as many have been complimentary of the information received.

The MRUA recommends passengers make use of the excellent Twitter service provided by Greater Anglia.  Even if you're not a Tweeter yet, it's worth setting up an account and just following @greateranglia for up to date information on services and a very prompt personal response to queries.