Train Company Sorry For Delays

16 August 2014, 06:00

The Greater Anglia rail firm has issued what it says is a "genuine" apology for the below standard level of service.

In a letter published online, Managing Directors Jamie Burles and Richard Schofield said:

"We are genuinely sorry for the problems that have affected train services in recent weeks. Performance has been well below the standards you rightly expect and we intend to deliver. As you may be aware there have been a variety of causes, ranging from infrastructure failures (e.g. with track, signalling and overhead line equipment) and engineering work problems to train faults, fatalities, flooding and road vehicles striking bridges.

We are acutely aware of the frustration and inconvenience felt by our passengers when things go wrong, so we are taking urgent action to improve performance as follows:

  • Putting in place quicker response arrangements for fixing infrastructure faults
  • Investing in an enhanced maintenance regime for points, signalling and level crossing equipment
  • Accelerating the track-side vegetation removal programme to try and prevent trees and branches falling on overhead lines and tracks - including tackling trees close to the railway, but on third party land.
  • Upgrading other track and signalling equipment in the Ipswich area over the next 4 weeks to improve infrastructure reliability
  • Improving the planning, project oversight, resource management and contingency arrangements for engineering work projects
  • Investing in a programme to tackle the main causes of train faults (doors, couplers and pantographs)
  • Accelerating the fitment of remote train monitoring equipment to more of the train fleet, which helps identify potential faults before they occur
  • Adding management resource in our Control centre to provide more focus on the rural routes and branch lines to ensure performance is more consistent across the network
  • Trialling the use of a small number of stand-by buses, at key locations such as Bishops Stortford, Witham, Ipswich and Norwich, to reduce the response times in providing alternative transport, where appropriate, in the event of service disruption.

In addition, we are making progress on the five initiatives we outlined in June:

1. An enhanced maintenance regime for overhead line equipment is in place, including route monitoring using a train fitted with a special rooftop camera to identify faults and potential problems
2. An enhanced maintenance regime for the track and signalling on the approaches to London Liverpool Street station (including a re-organisation of the maintenance team) has been introduced. Some track and signalling staff will now be based at Liverpool Street itself, to reduce incident response times should things go wrong
3. Improved customer information procedures to provide better information during disruption are being implemented
4. Additional customer information staff are now in place during the morning and evening peak periods
5. A software upgrade programme is underway for the London Liverpool Street departure board to improve the accuracy of information about train departures during service disruption.

Please accept our apologies for the recent problems. We are under no illusion as to the impact these problems have had on passengers and we are anxious to put things right. We believe that this targeted programme of initiatives will help restore the more consistent service we all want to see. Everyone in our teams is working as hard as possible to deliver real improvements over the coming weeks."