Norfolk

Greater Anglia: MP criticises 'catastrophic' rail service

New trains Image copyright Greater Anglia
Image caption Trains made by Stadler (above) have been introduced, though the Bombardier fleet has been delayed

An MP and cabinet member has criticised the "catastrophic performance of Greater Anglia's newly introduced trains".

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey has called on Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to intervene after "more disruption".

Greater Anglia has seen a series of delays and cancellations involving its new trains.

The company said the service was improving.

Ms Coffey, who is work and pensions secretary, said in the letter: "I am extremely concerned about the recent catastrophic performance of Greater Anglia's newly introduced trains on the rail network in Suffolk.

"After such significant investment and assurances about testing of every new train, the impact on constituents has led to their confidence in the rail system collapsing.

"We need a safe solution and fast. I have requested an urgent meeting with Network Rail and have asked the Transport Secretary to intervene."

A spokeswoman for Greater Anglia said: "We are very sorry for the major disruption to services on our regional lines recently.

"These delays and cancellations were not due to the performance or design of our new trains.

Image caption Greater Anglia told passengers to expect disruption until further notice

"We were unable to run our normal train service due to signalling issues. We worked round the clock with Network Rail to investigate the cause of the signalling problem.

"We are now able to operate the normal timetable on our regional lines again, except for the Norwich to Sheringham line, so the majority of services have been reintroduced.

"Unfortunately, last week we were unable to carry out testing and driver training due to the problems, which slightly set back the roll-out plan for our new trains, resulting in ongoing cancellations on the Ipswich to Peterborough line."

Once complete, Greater Anglia's new fleet of 169 trains will include 38 bi-mode trains, able to run on diesel or electric power, and 20 electric trains to serve the Norwich-London and Stansted Express services.

Greater Anglia previously admitted it was "letting people down" after its service was described by commuters as a "shambles" whose unreliability was "affecting people's work".

An investigation is under way after one of the new trains came within a quarter of a second of hitting a car on a level crossing when the barriers opened early.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites