Transport Minister Chris Mole will be joining National Express East Anglia (NXEA) at London Liverpool Street station on Monday 25 January, to name a Class 321 electric train ‘The Essex Commuter’ in recognition of the first stage of NXEA’s Service Improvement Plan which was introduced last month at the start of the current timetable.
This initial phase of improvements has provided passengers in North Essex and Suffolk with a total of around 5,700 extra seats each day on trains that are regularly very busy on the lines between Braintree, Clacton-on-Sea, Colchester, Chelmsford, Harwich, Ipswich, Witham and London Liverpool Street.
The centre-piece of the NXEA Service Improvement Plan is a major deal agreed with the Department for Transport in April 2009 to boost rail capacity on train services to and from London Liverpool Street. This aim is being achieved through the construction of 120 new rail carriages and the transfer of 68 additional modern refurbished carriages to be added to East Anglia services. The 120 new carriages will be introduced on Stansted Airport and Cambridge to Liverpool Street services in 2011, and the 68 refurbished carriages are being introduced on the Great Eastern mainline route from Suffolk and North Essex into Liverpool Street in two phases - December 2009 and December 2010. Over the next two years, passengers across Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire using NXEA services will benefit from the improvement plan.
Andrew Chivers, Managing Director, NXEA said: “Our Service Improvement Plan is already bringing benefits to thousands of our customers. The most significant enhancements include the introduction of 30 new trains and 17 refurbished trains enabling us to carry over 11,000 extra passengers into London at peak-times every weekday. We are also working on other improvements to provide better cleaning and information, a brighter on-train environment, some station improvements and more car parking as we continue to play a leading role in developing a positive future strategy for rail services in the East of England.”
Chris Mole said: “The Government is investing £173m in the first of several major improvements we have built into this franchise which will deliver real benefits for commuters travelling into London. Nearly 200 additional carriages and a steady programme of enhancements to stations will provide more reliable, more comfortable and less congested journeys for passengers.”