The Greater Anglia franchise involves the operation of all the
main line, commuter and local passenger services in East Anglia.
Following the withdrawal by the Department of Transport from
National Express, Abellio has been selected to operate the franchise
for the remaining 29 months of the period, commencing on 5
If the performance is good, Abellio should be a strong contender
for the next contract commencing in 2015 and expected to be for a
period of at least 15 years, which is longer than the 7 to 10 years
previously, one objective being to encourage more investment
by the operator. Abellio was formed to acquire and operate the
railways in the Netherlands. The company already is a joint operator
of the Merseyrail and Northernrail franchises and also bus services
including some in London.
There are limitations to the improvements which Abellio can
achieve in the short term on the service on the London to Norwich
main line. Some of the problems are not the responsibility of the
train operator but result from under capital investment in the
infrastructure over many years. The rolling stock is provided by
the train operator and at present involves the use of locomotives
more than 20 years old and coaches more than 30 years old. In the
case of infrastructure one problem has been failures in the electric
overhead wiring system. Another is the limitation in capacity for the
large number of passenger and freight trains between Colchester
and Shenfield with the availability of only two tracks.
Ipswich - Transport Fit for the 21st Century is a major transport
scheme aimed at improving the way that everyone can travel
around the town. Approval has been given for the project which
involves a capital expenditure of £21.5m, of which £18.3m is
funded by the Department of Transport. Construction work is
scheduled to commence in the summer of 2012. Suffolk County
Council has carried out a public consultation on the proposals, which
included a public exhibition held in the Tower Ramparts shopping
centre. The consultation closed on 25 November 2011.
One of the proposals is to pedestrianise Upper Brook Street. This
will require the bus services using this street to be diverted via
Tacket, Upper Orwell and St Margaret's Streets.
Another proposal is to extend the present bus lane in St Helen's
Street from Grimwade Street to Grove Lane, making this section
of St Helen's Street one-way for all traffic. It would necessitate the
diversion of all the outward bound buses to operate via Grimwade
and Fore Streets, Back Hamlet and Grove Lane to reach Foxhall and
Spring Roads. Some responses have been made to this proposal.
While an extension of the existing bus lane is very much required,
the large diversion of the bus routes is opposed. As an alternative
it has been suggested that the lane should commence at the Rope
Walk junction and follow the route along Rope Walk and Bond
The two existing bus stations will be retained, with no major
improvements. 'Real time' information will be installed at each
station and also new passenger shelters. A limited increase in the
number of bus stands will be made at Tower Ramparts.