Chloe Smith has today welcomed news that East Anglia’s new rail franchise will bring about the new and faster trains that she has long campaigned for across the East Coast Main Line.
The announcement saw news that Abellio East Anglia will run the franchise from October 2016, delivering faster and more frequent journeys along the route with a £1.4 billion investment in services that will bring 1,04 new carriages supplied by British train manufacturer, Bombadier. The new Norwich in Ninety service will run between Norwich and London at least twice each weekday, with journey times being cut by an average of 10% across the region.
Other improvements to the franchise will see free Wi-Fi for all passengers on trains and at stations and new ticket initiatives for passengers who travel regularly but don‘t benefit from season ticket discounts.
Chloe co-chairs the Great Eastern Rail Mainline Taskforce with Mark Pendlington, Chairman of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, and has successfully campaigned for ‘Norwich in Ninety’. Chloe had led nearly 40 colleagues from four eastern counties to produce the East Anglian Rail Prospectus which has seen success so far in improvements at Ely and elsewhere.
“I am delighted that the new Rail Franchise announced today confirms new trains for East Anglia. The new franchise is a huge win for passengers. I am so proud to have worked with partners across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex to win £1.4 billion of new investment for my constituents and for the region. These improvements will bring thousands of jobs to Norwich and encourage further investment in the region.”
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:
“We are making the biggest investment in the railways since the Victorian era. By awarding this franchise to Abellio East Anglia we will improve journeys for people in East Anglia.
“Abellio’s decision will ensure our train building industry in Derby remains strong.
“This is part of our plan to make an economy that works for everyone – not just the privileged few – by ensuring prosperity is spread throughout the country.”
Dominic Booth managing director of Abellio UK said:
“This is great news not only for Abellio but for the whole of East Anglia. We are pleased to become preferred bidder to deliver a transformation in rail services across the region.
“It will enable us to build on the successes of the 2 short East Anglian franchises we have run since 2012, and we commend the DfT in running a transparent and rigorous procurement process.
“Our plans will greatly improve our customers’ experience with faster and more reliable journeys on new trains with higher frequencies and reduced journey times, to support the socio-economic well-being of East Anglia, one of the country’s most successful and fastest growing areas.”