First Great Eastern

First Great Eastern

First Great Eastern was a train operating company in England owned by FirstGroup that operated the Great Eastern franchise from January 1997 until March 2004.

First Great Eastern Services

First Great Eastern operated all stops and limited stops services on the Great Eastern Main Line from London Liverpool Street to Southend Victoria, Southminster, Braintree, Colchester Town, Clacton-on-Sea, Walton-on-the-Naze, Harwich Town and Ipswich. It also ran services on the Romford to Upminster Line and Gainsborough Line from Marks Tey to Sudbury.

First Great Eastern Rolling Stock

First Great Eastern inherited a fleet of Class 312, Class 315 and Class 321s from British Rail. A Class 153 was hired from Anglia Railways for the Marks Tey to Sudbury service due to it not being electrified, a Class 150 being used on weekdays and a Class 153 on weekends. Prior to this arrangement, a Class 121 Bubble Car was hired from Silverlink.

A franchise commitment was the replacement of the Class 312s. In May 2001, First Great Eastern ordered 21 Class 360 Desiros with the first entering service in August 2003.

First Great Eastern Fleet at End of Franchise

  • 121 Bubble Car   diesel multiple unit

Hired from Silverlink
Marks Tey–Sudbury

  • 150

Hired from Anglia Railways

  • 153


  • 312   electric multiple unit

Harwich Town–Manningtree
London Liverpool Street–Clacton-on-Sea and Ipswich (peak times only)

  • 315
London Liverpool Street–Shenfield and Southminster
  • 321

London Liverpool Street–Braintree, Southend Victoria, Ipswich, Walton-on-the-Naze, Colchester Town, Clacton-on-Sea
Wickford–Southminster (Sundays only)

  • 360/1 Desiro

London Liverpool Street–Clacton-on-Sea and Harwich Town
London Liverpool Street–Ipswich (peak times only)

First Great Eastern Depot

First Great Eastern's fleet was maintained at Ilford depot.

First Great Eastern Demise

In 2002, as part of a franchise reorganisation by the Strategic Rail Authority, it was announced that the Great Eastern franchise would be merged into the Greater Anglia franchise. In December 2003, the Strategic Rail Authority awarded the Greater Anglia franchise to National Express, and the services operated by First Great Eastern were transferred to One (later National Express East Anglia) on 1 April 2004.

First Great Eastern Overview

First Great Eastern Franchise(s): Great Eastern
5 January 1997 – 31 March 2004

Main Region(s): East London
East of England

First Great Eastern Fleet Size: 144
First Great Eastern Stations Called At: 61
First Great Eastern Parent Company: FirstGroup
First Great Eastern Reporting Mark: GE
First Great Eastern Successor: One


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