Greater Anglia has announced that the fastest ever train service between Norwich and London has now started.
This cuts down the journey time to just 90 minutes.
The launch of faster trains between East Anglia and London was heralded as “the start of the transformation of rail services in the region”.
Following the introduction of the May timetable, Greater Anglia is now running four extra services between Norwich, Ipswich and London Liverpool Street.
The fastest journey times between Norwich and London are now 90 minutes and just 55-57 minutes between Ipswich and London on these extra four services a day.
Businesses and politicians in East Anglia have been calling for faster journey times between Norfolk, Suffolk and London for ten years.
The service was championed through the East Anglian Rail Prospectus and Great Eastern Main Line Taskforce, which was represented on the first journey by Chris Starkie, chief executive of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and also a key member of the Great Eastern Mainline Taskforce.
The 90-minute services will depart Norwich at 09.00 and 17.00, calling at Ipswich at 09.33 and 17.33, and London Liverpool Street at 11.00 and 19.00, calling at Ipswich at 11.55 and 19.57 and will operate on Mondays to Saturdays.
They will shave 12 minutes off the current fastest journey between Norwich and London and cut the fastest journey between Ipswich and London by 4 minutes.
However, these are only introductory times and could be changed when Greater Anglia issues a new timetable.
What did the officials say?
Jamie Burles said:
“Today’s launch of our new faster services between Norwich, Ipswich and London, is another big step in the transformation of our railway in East Anglia.
“Today we travelled on our existing trains, but this service will run on our brand new Intercity trains as we replace all of our existing trains with brand new state-of-the-art modern trains.
“As customers speed through East Anglia into London they’ll be able to enjoy longer trains, with more seats, USB and plug points, wifi, better passenger information and improved accessibility.”
Chris Starkie, Chief Executive of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said:
“This is a great milestone following a long period of negotiations and campaigning. It’s a huge step forward in improving customer experience and cutting journey times.
“Norfolk and Suffolk is one of the fastest growing regions in the country and it needs high quality rail infrastructure to support growth and to help businesses compete in global markets. The LEP strongly believes investing and transforming our railways is essential today and also decades to come ensuring we remain competitive and attractive as a business location.”
Priti Patel, MP for Witham, said:
“Having established the Great Eastern Main Line Taskforce in 2013 and worked closely with rail user groups, local businesses, and MPs, I am delighted to see these new services getting underway today.
“The new ‘Norwich in 90’ and ‘Ipswich in 60’ services are another major achievement for the Taskforce and featured in our original rail investment prospectus to the Government for the Greater Anglia franchise.
“These new services build on GEML’s other recent successes including the launch of Delay Repay 15, passenger refunds for late running services over 15 minutes, and the securing of more than £1bn funding for new Greater Anglia trains due to come into service within a matter of weeks.”
Meliha Duymaz, Network Rail Anglia’s route managing director, said:
“Delivering these faster services for passengers into the new timetable has been a real joint effort, and along with Greater Anglia, we know that Norwich in 90 will provide better journeys for the people who live and work in the region as well as supporting the local economy.
“Recent performance on the route has been some of the best in years, and together we’re working on various initiatives to make journeys better for everyone.”