Greater Anglia - Greater Anglia Changes - C

Greater Anglia - C
Greater Anglia Changes
Prior to Greater Anglia, the last period of substantial investment in the region had been nearly 30 years earlier, specifically the electrification of the line north of Ipswich. At the commencement of the franchise, railway commentator Philip Haigh observed that the region's services had changed little since the BR days, and that change was overdue.
During the negotiations for the award of the franchise, Greater Anglia pledged to undertake numerous investments that would improve the various services and facilities offered. On 4 November 2014, the Great Eastern Main Line Taskforce released its investment analysis report, which included a detailed breakdown of several proposed investments in the region's rail network.
One major initiative that was commenced by Greater Anglia shortly after it took over operations was the 'Norwich in 90' campaign, aimed at introducing faster journey times, such as between London and Colchester within 40 minutes, London and Ipswich in 60 minutes, and London and Norwich in 90 minutes. Several organisations, including Norfolk County Council, had been calling for such a scheme to be undertaken since as early as 2009.
Abellio had acknowledged such calls in 2012, but could not justify making very substantial investments during the initial franchise period due to the short timescale involved. The creation of the Great Eastern Rail Taskforce in 2013 was seen as a major step towards this. In 2015, Chloe Smith, Norwich North MP and co-chairman of the taskforce, noted that the scheme was as much a political effort as it was an engineering one.
By the 2010s, the region's rail infrastructure was relatively worn-out and prone to unreliability. Modernisation efforts would therefore focus not only on improving absolute speeds but on reducing failure rates as well.
This work is being undertaken as a multiagency effort, involving not only infrastructure changes carried out by Network Rail and various civil engineering companies, but also the procurement of new rolling stock and other efforts. It was recognised early on that, for the intercity services to be meaningfully speeded up, slower regional trains could not feasibly be overtaken or avoided on the mostly twin-track line, so that services overall would need to be accelerated.
There has also been an aspiration to increase the number of trains between Norwich and London to three per hour, although capacity constraints such as the single-track section in the vicinity of the Trowse Swing Bridge would need to be overcome to facilitate this.
Some services have been transferred from Greater Anglia's management to other rail operators. On 31 May 2015, the Liverpool Street to Enfield Town, Cheshunt (via Seven Sisters) and Chingford services, as well as the Romford to Upminster service, were transferred to London Overground Rail Operations. On the same day, the Liverpool Street to Shenfield stopping services were also transferred to the TfL Rail concession managed by MTR.
In June 2015, an Abellio (60%) / Stagecoach (40%) joint venture, FirstGroup and National Express were shortlisted to bid for the franchise. In December 2015, it was announced that Stagecoach had pulled out of the joint bid with Abellio, and that Abellio would continue the bid alone.
In August 2016, it was announced that Abellio had successfully retained the franchise until 2025. One commitment of the new franchise period is the purchase of 1,043 new carriages, 660 from Bombardier Transportation's Derby Litchurch Lane Works with the remainder being built by Stadler Rail. In January 2017, Abellio announced that, subject to gaining DfT approval, it had agreed to sell a 40% stake in the business to Mitsui.
The sale was completed in March 2017. Reportedly, Greater Anglia has incorporated numerous planning and operational practices of the Japanese railways, such as the use of digital twin simulation software for analysing performance and developing its timetables, since the acquisition.
  • In 2021, following the COVID-19 emergency measures, Greater Anglia was given a direct award contract, replacing its franchise agreement, expiring on 20 September 2026.
  • In February 2023, Transport UK Group concluded a management buyout of Abellio's United Kingdom business, which included its share in Greater Anglia.
Greater Anglia Overview
Greater Anglia Franchise(s): Greater Anglia
5 February 2012 – 15 October 2016
East Anglia
16 October 2016 – 20 September 2026
Greater Anglia Main Region(s): Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk & Suffolk
Greater Anglia Other Region(s): London & Hertfordshire
Greater Anglia Fleet Size:
133 Class 720 Aventra units (103 in service)
20 Class 745 FLIRT units
38 Class 755 FLIRT units
Greater Anglia Stations Called At: 150
Greater Anglia Stations Operated: 134
Greater Anglia Parent Company: Transport UK Group (60%)
Mitsui & Co (40%)
Greater Anglia Reporting Mark: LE
Greater Anglia Predecessor: National Express East Anglia
Rail Holidays
Rail Vacations
Luxury Trains
Luxury Tours
International Trains
International Tours
home Rail-Pass & Train Tickets & International Rail Holidays Hotel Booking & Hotel Reservations & Hotel Accomodation B&B Booking & B&B Reservations & B&B Accommodation Hostel Booking & Youth Hostel Reservations & Hostel Accommodation Chalet Rental & Holiday Homes & Vacation Homes Ski Pass Booking & Ski Pass Reservations & Ski Lift Pass Flight Tickets & Airline Reservations & Flight Booking Ferry Tickets & Ferry Booking & Ferry Reservations Car Rental Booking & Car Hire Reservations Excursions & Days Out & Day Trips & Theme Parks Rail Pass Booking & Rail Pass Reservations & Eurail & Interrail Rail Tickets & Rail Reservations & International Train Tickets Weekend Trips & Weekend Breaks & Weekend Away  Travel Insurance & Business Travel Insurance Eurotunnel Tickets & Eurotunnel Le Shuttle Reservations