Jonathan Denby, Greater Anglia
Greater Anglia is proud to be sponsoring this year’s EADT Business Awards. We are passionate about delivering excellent customer service and ensuring that the railways play their full part in helping our region to be both economically prosperous and a wonderful place to live. As part of our new franchise we are fully focused on raising customer service standards. Over the last couple of years, our intercity trains, used on services to and from London, have been refurbished with plug points, upgraded wifi (now free for all customers), new lighting and new tables. Most of the other trains used on either the line to London or on local routes across Suffolk have now been refurbished or refreshed too.
Smartcard ticketing is being rolled out, customer compensation for delays is being increased, stations are being upgraded (such as the major scheme at Ipswich, where the final part of the project – the forecourt improvement scheme – is now complete) and better integrated transport facilities are being provided.
Additional trains have been introduced to provide increased seating capacity and improve service reliability on a number of routes (including the Great Eastern Main Line), whilst an extra £5 million is being spent on modifying our trains to further improve service reliability. More partnership work with Network Rail is aimed at securing better infrastructure reliability.
The centrepiece of our plans is the introduction of a complete fleet of new trains in 2019/20. Everyone of the carriages we currently operate will be replaced with a bigger, brand new fleet of 1043 carriages in a £1.4 billion investment – the largest ever investment in trains in East Anglia. Not only will the travelling environment be transformed, but seating capacity will be increased, train reliability further improved and, wherever practical, journey times will be reduced. In Suffolk, all local routes will be operated with three or four carriage trains (not one, two or three carriages, as now) and the Ipswich to Peterborough line is due to benefit from an hourly service. So excellent customer service is very much at the heart of our plans to transform train services in East Anglia.