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New East Anglia rail franchise welcomed

10 August 2016

A new rail franchise for East Anglia promising faster journey times, more seating and free Wi-Fi on train journeys through the county has been welcomed by Essex County Council.

The Government today (Wednesday) announced it has awarded the franchise to Abellio East Anglia to run from October 2016 until 2025.

Essex County Council (ECC) has lobbied the Government, alongside local MPs and other partners across East Anglia, for many years to secure much-needed investment in a shared rail network identified in the East Anglian Rail Prospectus.

This £1.4 billion investment aims to cut journey times by 10 percent while offering 32,000 more seats on services arriving at London Liverpool Street by 2021.

Essex rail passengers are set to benefit with new trains, more than 1,000 additional weekday services and smart ticketing on the entire network by 2019.

Today (Wednesday) Cllr Rodney L Bass, ECC Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, welcomed the new franchise award.

He said: "We are delighted that Abellio East Anglia's bid has been successful.

“They can now build on the successes which they started with the short-term franchises. 

“We shall look forward to continuing our close working relationship with them and I am especially delighted that the new rolling stock will be British built in Derby and of the highest quality.”

Cllr Kevin Bentley, ECC Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, said: “I am delighted that the new rail franchise has been announced today.

“Improved trains and infrastructure will give the Essex economy a huge boost offering businesses a reliable and fast link with London.

“We will continue to work with Abellio to ensure it delivers the best possible service for the people and businesses of Essex.”