New 90 minute services between Norwich and London and the expectation of new trains delivered early on are central to the next rail franchise announced by Government in a big boost for the passengers and businesses supporting the Great Eastern Rail Campaign.
Taskforce co-chairs Mark Pendlington and Chloe Smith MP this week responded to the publication of the invitation to tender (ITT) for the Greater Anglia rail franchise:
“The publication is the expected next step in our rail campaign. Thousands of passengers and businesses have got behind our campaign across three counties to get faster, more reliable rail services between Norwich and London.
“We have secured agreement at every level to new trains and track upgrades, which together will allow for “Norwich in 90”, “Ipswich in 60” and benefits along the line. Most of all, passengers need a more reliable service. The day-to-day and economic benefits of what we have won will be immense for our region and completed in ten years.
“The ITT is where service and rolling stock are specified. We welcome today’s publication because it clearly responds to passenger need. As promised, it lays out the expectation of new trains, together with how this will be achieved commercially. In short, the winner of this contest will provide state of the art trains to East Anglia within the next few years
“In the short term, we also welcome the provision of additional fast services from Norwich and Ipswich to London.
“In the long term, our work continues to make sure the necessary track improvements take place over the next ten years, as planned.”
The three shortlisted bidders will now put forward their proposals and the successful bidder will be announced in summer next year, with the new franchise set to start from October 2016.