Greater Anglia 'sorry' for first month of rail service

A train operator has apologised for its performance in its first month running services in the eastern counties.

Greater Anglia took over the train franchise in the east from National Express East Anglia on 5 February this year.

Ruud Haket, Greater Anglia managing director, said overhead cable problems and train faults had caused delays.

In a statement on the company website, he said the firm was developing plans to cut disruptions.

"It's been a month since Greater Anglia took over as operator of the train service across the region," he said.

"We are the first to admit that our performance has not been to the level expected nor demanded by you, our customers, during this time and for this we are sorry."

Action plan

The company, a British branch of Dutch train firm Abellio, won the franchise to provide train services across Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and links to London in October last year.

Its contract will last for the next 28 months, taking in the 2012 Olympic Games when transport into London will become a major focus.

Mr Haket said the service had improved in the last few weeks, with 90.6% of trains arriving within five minutes of their scheduled time.

But he said an action plan had been created to address ongoing problems such as cable theft and faults with overhead wires.

"We would like to thank all our customers for their patience since the start of the Greater Anglia franchise and reiterate our commitment to improving our train service and the quality of information you receive when problems occur," he said.

"Ensuring our service is run on time is important to you and we understand the impact it has when we've let you down."

Peter Lawrence, national president of Railfuture, a UK campaign group for better rail services, said it would take time for improvements to filter through.

"It is frustrating for passengers when trains break down and there are signalling problems," he said.

"But it is a short time since they took the service on and I think they need time to bed in. Provided we see improvement take place, I think the apology will go down well."

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