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Cancellations, severe delays, last place in customer survey: Recorder speaks to Greater Anglia boss Andrew Goodrum for explanation

17:38 06 August 2014

A Greater Anglia train at Ilford train Station.

A Greater Anglia train at Ilford train Station.

Archant

As temperatures across London pushed 30C last month commuters found themselves crammed into hot, crowded and often severely delayed trains.

Tweets about Greater Anglia-

Karl Brooks @KBrooks91 - Jul 31 @greateranglia Realise you can’t do much about delays but at least give clear updates on trains people can get. Really poor at Ipswich.

markft @m15hmt - Jul 31 @greateranglia @Delayed_Again Disruption happens every day, stop responding like it’s never happened before and you have no idea what to do.

GA Complaints @Delayed_Again - Jul 31 What another example of abellio chaos theory tonight. Utter chaos. Useless thanks. Still not home yet.

Rory Mccue @roza87_ - Jul 31 @greateranglia Provide a below standard service and charge huge fees going up above inflation rates yr on yr..

@mark_rookes @Delayed_Again Is almost as they can’t be bothered to sort it out, they must think “oh it’s 9pm, no one will be travelling until tomorrow”!

Gareth Thomas @GarfyJ - Aug 1 @Delayed_Again Just added up my July numbers. 79% punc. A total delay of 244 minutes. Average delay 24 mins. Worst month so far for me.

Giles Meehan @GilesMeehan - Aug 1 I nominate @greateranglia Stratford London as the worst station in UK. No staff, no toilets, no maps, poor signs &info, crazy platform no.s!

George-Harriss @Georgeharriss69 - Aug 1 @greateranglia Was stuck at Liverpool Street for nearly two hours last night, delayed today and you want us to pay more?

Dan Collins @RealDC80 - Aug 1@Delayed_Again @greateranglia Packed into four carriages like sardines, those who get seats, still not comfortable

The Recorder has asked Abellio Greater Anglia why thousands of people faced nightmare journeys to and from work.

Customer Service Director, Andrew Goodrum, has been working with Abellio Greater Anglia since 2012.

His role includes improving staff and customer relations, but can he explain the reasons for service delays?

He said: “We’re trying our best to provide the best service that we can for all of our passengers and yes, sometimes there are delays but we do what we can to make them as minimal as possible.”

The current moving annual average (MAA) punctuality for Liverpool Street to Shenfield services is 92pc, above the current national average across Britain’s railways, which is 89.7pc.

However, during one seven-day period in July, it has been estimated that Greater Anglia cancelled approximately 49 trains and about announced 1,896 hours of delays.

Mr Goodrum said: “We do understand that performance has not been up to the standards that is expected over recent months, but this is because of a number of reasons, including overrunning engineering works, infrastructure, train fleet failures and sadly, a number of fatalities.

“Due to the severe weather and high temperatures Network Rail introduced speed restrictions to protect infrastructure. During July lightning strikes damaging signalling equipment and flooding affected services.

“We are working closely with Network Rail to rectify these issues. The operator is focused on improving infrastructure and signalling equipment as well as reliability in and around Liverpool Street station.”

Greater Anglia has a list of promises on its website, including making it a priority to provide “a safe, clean, punctual and reliable train service”, but is this what passengers receive?

In February, the train service came bottom for the second year running in Which?’s customer satisfaction survey. Passengers scored the service less than 50pc in areas such as cleanliness, overall satisfaction and the likelihood of recommending Greater Anglia to a friend.

Mr Goodrum said: “Even though it is disappointing to hear, this is not a proper survey. In the most recent National Passenger Survey (NPS), which is run by the independent rail industry, during the Spring 2014 period Abellio Greater Anglia’s customer satisfaction improved to 81pc, up from last year’s 77pc. We are also above the London and South East sector’s average of 80pc.”

“But we do still take these comments on board and even though we do clean the carriages when the trains are empty, we are planning to introduce a heavier cleaning programme for our trains and stations.”

Despite complaints filling twitter feeds each morning Abellio Greater Anglia has reported that annual footfall grew by 500,000 in 2012-13, reaching 7.5 million.

Mr Goodrum added: “Obviously, we are very pleased about this as we are always working on attracting more people to the network and to create a loyal base of customers which we wish will continue to grow.”

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