Last week, I met with representatives from Abellio to discuss the new rail franchise set to begin in February 2012.
The initial 29-month New Anglia franchise will act as a test run for a longer 15 year franchise in which Abellio are keen to invest for the future. We concentrated on the issue of the rail station – an issue I have been campaigning on since before the General Election – as well as train services between Great Yarmouth and Norwich.
Abellio are keen to improve rail stations across the region and have identified Great Yarmouth’s as one, which is in particular need of improvement. In the short term, Abellio will be spending money on aesthetic and cosmetic improvements to the station and have a longer term vision of adopting an approach similar to the M2Go scheme which has seen stations in Merseyside incorporate a shop environment into the ticket office. The franchise is keen to link up with commercial companies in the area to make this a reality.
On the side of the rail service, Abellio recognise the need to continue an increased service during the busy summer season. As a town with a huge tourism economy, (Great Yarmouth attracts in the region of £500 million a year), many these tourists arrive by rail. It is essential that the rail infrastructure is adequate to deal with the volume of holidaymakers Great Yarmouth receives each year. Abellio are committed to continuing the current level of service during the busy summer seasons and indicated scope for increased capacity in terms of rolling stock within the current timetable.
5th December 2011