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Consultation commences on train service capacity enhancements
19 Jun 2009

National Express East Anglia has today launched a 12 week consultation to seek the views of stakeholders and customers on the recently announced plans to improve train service capacity.

In April this year, the Department for Transport (DfT) announced a major boost to rail capacity on National Express East Anglia (NXEA) services to and from London Liverpool Street. This will be achieved through the construction of 120 new rail carriages and the transfer of 68 additional modern refurbished carriages to provide a total of 188 extra carriages to be added to East Anglia services.

NXEA is the first train operator to reach an agreement with the DfT on the introduction of additional capacity on its network under the High Level Output Statement as outlined in the Government’s July 2007 White Paper ‘Delivering a Sustainable Railway.’ These plans will deliver major improvements for passengers with the additional carriages representing a 17% increase in the NXEA train fleet.

In the first stage towards the implementation of the additional trains, NXEA has commenced a consultation exercise with key stakeholders including local authorities and rail passenger groups in London and the East Anglia region. This consultation will set out proposals for the deployment of the extra trains and the major passenger benefits that can be delivered over a phased period between December 2010 and December 2012 as the additional trains are introduced.

These proposals consider the options to:

  • Increase capacity into Liverpool Street at peak travel times by an additional 11,000 seats.
  • Deploy the 120 new electric carriages on services to Stansted Airport and some Cambridge to Liverpool Street services.
  • Improve the existing timetable schedules to enable the introduction of 68 additional carriages on services to Chelmsford, Colchester, Clacton, Harwich, Braintree and Southend, and additional stops at some intermediate stations between Colchester and London, including Marks Tey and Kelvedon.
  • Plus, more stops at Stratford, more trains from Ipswich and potential for a faster journey on a key morning peak train from Norwich.

Other passenger benefits include the option to extend all Stansted Express services to 12 carriage trains (from the existing eight) and provide additional carriages at peak times on the lines to Enfield, Chingford, Hertford and Bishop’s Stortford.

Amongst other improvements, the consultation considers options for the introduction of extra capacity on some peak Norwich to London intercity services and off-peak Ipswich/Colchester to London services, as well as extending most Norwich to Cambridge services from two to three carriages and Ipswich to Cambridge trains to two carriages.

The proposed changes to the existing service pattern on the Ipswich to Peterborough and Ipswich to Lowestoft lines to help provide increased overall capacity on the Great Eastern route into Liverpool Street will also form part of this consultation, and include proposals to introduce additional services between Ipswich and Saxmundham, and then an hourly Ipswich to Lowestoft service from December 2012, subject to the installation of the Beccles passing loop. The proposals also provide for an extra morning and evening peak service between Norwich and Great Yarmouth, and improved connections at Norwich for those travelling between Great Yarmouth and London.

NXEA will be seeking the views of stakeholders and customers over a 12 week consultation period and will welcome comments on these proposals – a summary of which will be available soon on the NXEA website at  The overwhelming priorities are to deliver initiatives which will provide more seating capacity and extra services to benefit the majority of rail passengers, and in meeting the DfT’s requirements on capacity enhancement for the NXEA network.