Mad British Railways – Greater Anglia

Posted by The Skibbereen Eagle | May 27, 2015 0

Greater Anglia train was delayedThere are many arguments against the Mad Hatter world of British Railways – Privatised when John Major and the Conservatives had their “Thomas the Tank Engine” moment in 1993. All the Network synergies were destroyed, assets such as the hotels, ferries and engineering were sold off and Railtrack set up as one of the more incompetent (and unsafe) train infrastructure companies before going bust. The rolling stock was sold off and banks made an enormous killing “flipping” these train leasing companies while for over 10 years no new rolling stock was built in England. Meanwhile Network Rail continues in the poor value tradition of its monopoly predecessor while racking up enormous debt and the Train Operating Companies on top of this hidden subsidy now require more than the money paid each year in unemployment benefit.

An example of how the customer does not exist in the brave new world of Tory Rail is Abellio Greater Anglia, run by the Dutch State Railway Company on lines which are archaic with clapped out 40 year old rolling stock. Oh yes, Tory Rail is really happy with state control of Britain’s Railways just once it isn’t the British State!


Abellio Greater Anglia is spending £30m on cleaning trains following claims of “flea infested seats” and disgusting conditions.  Abellio which operates the Norwich to London service, has been forced to take on 40 extra cleaners in a bid to improve hygiene standards. Ian Edwards, who runs the website Greater Anglia Complaints, told BBC London he has experienced “appalling” conditions. He said: “We keep a photographic log of everything from flea bites, because a lot of the seats are flea infested, to broken toilets and it is just disgusting.

“You’ve got practically no slack in the service so all they have time to do is a quick litter pick.” The operator holds the mainline franchise until October 2016 and plans to hand over some services to Transport for London.

Greater Anglia’s Peter Meades told the BBC there are more than 300 cleaners working for company. “We put a lot of resource into cleaning overnight,” he said. “The real opportunity to invest in the train fleet in Essex is going to start in the long franchise which will start in October next year.” He added: “We will follow them (complaints about flea bites or cleanliness) up immediately.”

An Abellio Greater Anglia spokesperson said: “We are investing over £30m in the current short franchise to improve our train fleet, customer service and train performance and cleanliness across our network. As part of this investment, we have recently recruited 40 extra cleaners to bring our total complement of train presentation staff to 300 across our company. We have increased the frequency of deep cleans and undertaken more extensive cleaning on trains throughout the day.  Our train cleaners are working very hard to improve standards and we welcome customers’ cooperation to keep our trains clean and tidy.”

Weasel words from a badly managed, badly resourced franchise which is a monopoly supplier of rail services in East Anglia. As for their long suffering  no-choice “customers” they have obviously concluded a picture is worth a thousand words and platitudes.

The Skibbereen Eagle

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