Abellio Confirmed East Anglian Rail Franchise Operator
The UK Department for Transport has confirmed Abellio as the East Anglian rail franchise Operator. The franchise will commence on 16 October 2016. The announcement came at the conclusion of a standstill period following the Department for Transport’s announcement on 10 August that Abellio was the preferred bidder. Abellio operates the current franchise (trading as Abellio Greater Anglia). The period of the franchise will last nine years. A £3.7 billion franchise payment will be paid to the government by Abellio over the course of the franchise.
Planned improvements for the franchise include:
- The fleet of trains will be replaced by new 1,043 new carriages, 660 of which will be built by Bombardier and 383 of which will be built by Stadler. They will be in operation by the end of 2020.
- A £60 million investment in stations and the redevelopment of five stations.
- More seats, services and faster journeys, with better connections.
- Improvement in performance and reliability, achieved by working with infrastructure provider Network Rail.
- An improved ticketing system.
Dominic Booth, Managing Director for Abellio UK, said:
“This is a very exciting time for the railways across the Greater Anglia region. We are delighted to be able to build on the hard work of all our colleagues at Abellio Greater Anglia over the past four years. This announcement will now enable us to deliver the world-class rail network that the region deserves.
“Our ambitious plans, that include the replacement of the entire Greater Anglia fleet in the largest privately-funded train order in the UK, will give the people of the Greater Anglia region a railway that is unrecognisable from today.”
Jamie Burles, Managing Director of Abellio Greater Anglia, said:
“This package of improvements will deliver transformational change across our entire network in a relatively short period of time. We can’t buy new trains ‘off the shelf’, but we are making sure that customers see improvements early in the new franchise.
“We look forward to supporting the economic growth of what is one of the UK’s fastest growing regions to deliver a world-class railway service that our customers, our colleagues and our stakeholders can be proud of.”