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Marker set for new train operator

PUBLISHED: 09:15 02 December 2009 | UPDATED: 15:49 03 July 2010

A RAIL users' group has set down a marker for the next train operating company in East Anglia in the wake of National Express being stripped of its right to run the region's trains from 2011.

A RAIL users' group has set down a marker for the next train operating company in East Anglia in the wake of National Express being stripped of its right to run the region's trains from 2011.

Trevor Garrod, chairman of East Suffolk Travellers' Association (ESTA), has written to Transport Secretary Lord Adonis and five local MPs calling for improvements when a new operator takes on the region's train services.

In his letter Mr Garrod states: “The remit for the new operator should include an hourly Lowestoft to London service, good quality class 170 diesel trains, with improved interchange facilities at Ipswich and at least two through services each way between Lowestoft and London.”

He said the letter repeated ESTA's request that any withdrawal of the present Lowestoft to London trains must be made conditional on completion of a passing loop at Beccles and “real improvements to interchange facilities at Ipswich”, including a passenger lift.

Last Thursday the government announced that National Express would have its East Anglia rail franchise terminated three years early.

The Department for Transport said National Express would lose the franchise on March 31, 2011.

It could have been extended until 2014 had National Express not defaulted on another franchise - the East Coast Main Line - earlier this year.

National Express said the decision was “expected”, but that it was “disappointed” by the announcement.

Lord Adonis said the process for securing a new operator would start immediately so that a new franchise could begin in April 2011.


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