Greater Anglia has been named Train Operator of the Year in the Rail Business Awards 2020 – after judges praised the company for continuing to innovate and improve while also preparing for the arrival of new trains.
Last year, Greater Anglia carried out a number of improvements, including introducing the Norwich in 90 service, improving its delay repay compensation scheme to include all delays of 15 minutes and over and starting to introduce brand new trains.
At the same time, the company made real progress in improving punctuality, which resulted in over 35,000 more trains arriving on time in 2019 compared to 2018.
This sustained punctuality drive led to some months of record-breaking performance, especially on the Great Eastern Main Line and Southend line, which saw four successive months of over 94.5 per cent of trains on time from March to June – some of the best-ever performance seen on these routes.
The company also continued to invest in stations, car parks and new services and saw passenger numbers increase.
Car park improvements included extending Manningtree and Shenfield car parks and installing Automatic Number Plate Recognition at 20 car parks across the network.
A new station, Meridian Water, opened in June, with additional services between Stratford and Meridian Water starting in September.
The company launched further ticketing initiatives to make it easier for customers to buy season tickets on Smart Cards, including developing the Greater Anglia app so season ticket holders can upload their season tickets onto their Smart Cards using their mobile phones.
Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia managing director, said: “To be named train operator of the year is a tremendous accolade and a credit to the hard work and determination of everyone in our team, across the whole of Greater Anglia, to make our service much better for our customers.
“We have seen our improvements in punctuality recognised across the industry and have been named most improved London and the South East operator for punctuality on our commuter lines in Essex and Hertfordshire. Customer satisfaction has also increased by 8% to 81%.
“We’ve replaced all the trains on our rural routes with high quality, state-of-the-art new trains, with more seats and a much better travelling environment which, as they bed in, are starting to improve our reliability, as well as our customers’ on-board experiences.
“We have also begun to bring in new intercity trains on the main line between Norwich, Ipswich, Colchester and London.
“We recognise, of course, that last year ended on a difficult note on our rural lines due to signalling issues and that punctuality is not consistently where we want it to be so far this year. We’re sorry for those occasions when we have let people down and we are determined to get performance back on track as soon as possible.
“We fully intend to live up to our new title of train operator of the year, to continue to improve our service to our customers, raising standards further and continuing the roll out of a complete fleet of new trains.”
The citation for Greater Anglia’s award at the Rail Business Awards, which are organised by the Railway Gazette, said: “Greater Anglia had an excellent year in 2018-19, continuing to innovate while preparing for the arrival of its new trains. The judges commended it for launching the Norwich in 90 service with existing stock, whilst also improving regional and commuter services.”
Last year, the Stansted Express Liverpool Street to Stansted Airport service, which is managed by Greater Anglia, was named Operator of the Year in the Global Air Rail Awards.