Greater Anglia (train operating company)

Greater Anglia
Franchise(s): Greater Anglia
5 Feb 2012 - 15 Oct 2016
East Anglia
16 Oct 2016 - 2025
Main region(s): Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk & Suffolk
Other region(s): London & Hertfordshire
Stations called at: 170
Stations operated: 154
Parent company: Abellio
Route map

Abellio East Anglia Limited,[1] trading as Greater Anglia, is a train operating company in Great Britain owned by Abellio. It operates the East Anglia franchise, providing the majority of commuter/regional services from its Central London terminus at London Liverpool Street to Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and parts of Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire as well as many regional services throughout the East of England.

Abellio began operating the franchise, then known as the Greater Anglia franchise, in February 2012. It traded initially under the same name until it rebranded as Abellio Greater Anglia in December 2013. In May 2015, most of the company's suburban services were transferred to London Overground and the precursor to Crossrail, TfL Rail. The franchise was re-tendered that year as the East Anglia franchise, and was awarded to Abellio in August 2016. The company resumed trading as Greater Anglia on 16 October 2016 when the new franchise commenced.



Abellio Greater Anglia logo as used from December 2013 until October 2016

In December 2003 the Strategic Rail Authority awarded the Greater Anglia franchise to National Express, with operations starting on 1 April 2004 under the "One" brand.[2][3] The franchise was to run until March 2011, with provision for a three-year extension if performance targets were met.

In November 2009 the Department for Transport announced that National Express would not be granted the three-year extension for which it had met the criteria, after National Express East Coast had defaulted on the InterCity East Coast franchise.[4][5]

Following a change of government at the 2010 General Election, the Department for Transport announced in June 2010 that all refranchising would be put on hold while a review was conducted into the franchising process.[6] As a result, National Express East Anglia was granted an initial extension until October 2011, followed by another until February 2012.[7]

Abellio granted franchise

In March 2011 the Department for Transport announced that Abellio, Go-Ahead, and Stagecoach had been shortlisted to bid for the franchise.[8] In October 2011 it awarded the new franchise to Abellio; the services operated by National Express East Anglia transferred to Greater Anglia on 5 February 2012.[9][10][11]

The franchise was originally to run until July 2014. The reason for awarding a short franchise, at the same time as the government was speaking of a desire to move to longer franchises, was to allow the government to digest the recommendations of the McNulty Rail Value for Money study before letting a long-term franchise.

In March 2013 the Secretary of State for Transport announced the franchise would again be extended until 15 October 2016.[12] Greater Anglia was rebranded as Abellio Greater Anglia in December 2013.

On 31 May 2015 the Liverpool Street to Enfield Town, Cheshunt (via Seven Sisters) and Chingford services, as well as the Romford to Upminster service, transferred to London Overground Rail Operations.[13] On the same day, the Liverpool Street to Shenfield stopping services transferred to the TfL Rail concession managed by MTR.[14]

On 22 December 2014 the refurbishment of the company's fleet of Mark 3 carriages began, involving a total internal rewiring, new toilets with waste-retention tanks, improved Wi-Fi provision, plug sockets at each seat, and a complete refresh of body panels, carpets and seat covers. The refurbishment programme was completed in 2016.

Franchise renewal

In June 2015, an Abellio (60%)/Stagecoach (40%) joint venture, FirstGroup and National Express were shortlisted to bid for the franchise.[15] In December 2015 it was announced that Stagecoach had pulled out of the joint bid with Abellio, and that Abellio would continue the bid alone.[16]

In August 2016, it was announced that Abellio had successfully bid to retain the franchise until 2025. A franchise commitment is to purchase 1,043 new carriages, 660 from Bombardier's Derby Litchurch Lane Works with the other 383 to be built by Stadler Rail.[17][18]

Franchise commitments

Greater Anglia Franchise (2012-2016)

A number of improvements were planned during the first franchise period (2012-2016) which included:[9]

East Anglia Franchise (2016-2025)

The following improvements have been planned as part of the Abellio bid for the East Anglia franchise (2016-2025):[19]


As of September 2016, the following services operate during the off-peak period, Monday to Saturday:[21]

Route tph Calling at
London Liverpool Street - Norwich 2 1tph Colchester, Manningtree, Ipswich, Diss
1tph Stratford,[lower-alpha 1] Chelmsford, Colchester, Manningtree, Ipswich, Stowmarket, Diss
Great Eastern
Route tph Calling at
London Liverpool Street - Southend Victoria 3 Stratford, Romford (1tph), Shenfield, Billericay, Wickford, Rayleigh, Hockley, Rochford, Southend Airport, Prittlewell
Wickford - Southminster 1.5 Battlesbridge, South Woodham Ferrers, North Fambridge, Althorne, Burnham-on-Crouch
London Liverpool Street - Ipswich 1 Stratford, Shenfield, Chelmsford, Hatfield Peverel, Witham, Kelvedon, Marks Tey, Colchester, Manningtree
London Liverpool Street - Colchester Town 1 Stratford, Romford, Shenfield, Chelmsford, Witham, Kelvedon, Marks Tey, Colchester
London Liverpool Street - Clacton-on-Sea 1 Stratford, Shenfield, Ingatestone, Chelmsford, Witham, Colchester, Wivenhoe, Thorpe-le-Soken
London Liverpool Street - Braintree 1 Stratford, Shenfield, Ingatestone, Chelmsford, Witham, White Notley, Cressing, Braintree Freeport
Marks Tey - Sudbury 1 Chappel & Wakes Colne, Bures
Colchester - Walton-on-the-Naze 1 Colchester Town, Hythe, Wivenhoe, Alresford, Great Bentley, Weeley, Thorpe-le-Soken, Kirby Cross, Frinton-on-Sea
Trains reverse at Colchester Town.
Colchester - Colchester Town (shuttle) 1
Manningtree - Harwich Town 1 Mistley, Wrabness, Harwich International, Dovercourt
West Anglia
Route tph Calling at
London Liverpool Street - Hertford East 2 Hackney Downs, Tottenham Hale, Ponders End, Brimsdown, Enfield Lock, Waltham Cross, Cheshunt, Broxbourne, Rye House, St Margarets, Ware
Stratford - Bishop's Stortford 2 1tph Lea Bridge, Tottenham Hale, Waltham Cross, Cheshunt, Broxbourne, Harlow Town, Sawbridgeworth
1tph Lea Bridge, Tottenham Hale, Northumberland Park, Angel Road (limited service), Enfield Lock, Cheshunt, Broxbourne, Roydon, Harlow Town, Harlow Mill, Sawbridgeworth
London Liverpool Street - Cambridge 2 1tph Tottenham Hale, Cheshunt, Broxbourne, Harlow Town, Bishop's Stortford, Audley End, Whittlesford Parkway
1tph Tottenham Hale, Cheshunt, Broxbourne, Roydon, Harlow Town, Harlow Mill, Sawbridgeworth, Bishop's Stortford, Stansted Mountfitchet, Elsenham, Newport, Audley End, Great Chesterford, Whittlesford Parkway, Shelford
Stansted Airport - Cambridge 1 Audley End, Whittlesford Parkway
Stansted Express
Route tph Calling at
London Liverpool Street - Stansted Airport 4 2tph Tottenham Hale, Bishop's Stortford
2tph Tottenham Hale, Harlow Town, Stansted Mountfitchet (1tph)
Route tph Calling at
Ipswich - Felixstowe 1 Westerfield, Derby Road, Trimley
Ipswich - Lowestoft 1 Woodbridge, Melton, Wickham Market, Saxmundham, Darsham, Halesworth, Brampton,[lower-alpha 2] Beccles, Oulton Broad South
Ipswich - Cambridge 1 1tp2h Needham Market, Stowmarket, Elmswell, Thurston, Bury St Edmunds, Kennett, Newmarket
1tp2h Needham Market, Stowmarket, Elmswell, Thurston, Bury St Edmunds, Newmarket, Dullingham
Ipswich - Peterborough 0.5 Stowmarket, Bury St Edmunds, Ely, Manea, March, Whittlesea
Norwich - Sheringham 1 1tp2h Hoveton & Wroxham, Worstead, North Walsham, Cromer, West Runton
1tp2h Salhouse, Hoveton & Wroxham, North Walsham, Gunton, Roughton Road, Cromer, West Runton
Trains reverse at Cromer.
Norwich - Great Yarmouth 1 Usually Brundall Gardens, Brundall, Lingwood, Acle
Limited service via Reedham calling at Brundall Gardens, Brundall, Cantley, Reedham, Berney Arms[lower-alpha 2]
Norwich - Lowestoft 1 1tp2h Oulton Broad North
1tp2h Brundall, Buckenham[lower-alpha 2] (limited service), Cantley, Reedham, Haddiscoe, Somerleyton, Oulton Broad North
Norwich - Cambridge 1 Wymondham, Spooner Row[lower-alpha 2] (limited service), Attleborough, Eccles Road (limited service), Harling Road (limited service), Thetford, Brandon, Lakenheath[lower-alpha 2] (limited service), Shippea Hill[lower-alpha 2] (limited service), Ely

Stansted Express

Abellio Greater Anglia operates the Stansted Express sub-branded airport rail link between London Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport.[22]


Abellio Greater Anglia operates the Dutchflyer sub-branded boat train between London Liverpool Street and Harwich International.[23]


The latest punctuality statistics released by Network Rail for period 7 of 2013/2014 were 94.0% PPM (Public Performance Measure) down 1.0 percentage points on the same period last year and the MAA (Moving Annual Average) up to 12 October 2013 also fell slightly to 92.3%. In 2013, Abellio Greater Anglia was named train operator of the year.[24][25] However, a survey in February 2014 by the consumer group Which? found that customer satisfaction of Abellio Greater Anglia was at last place (out of 20 train operators) with a satisfaction percentage of 40%.[26]

Rolling stock

Abellio East Anglia inherited a fleet of Class 90, Mark 3 carriages, Driving Van Trailers, Class 153, Class 156 and Class 170 diesel multiple units, and Class 315, Class 317, Class 321, Class 360 and Class 379 electric multiple units from National Express East Anglia. Due to its short initial franchise term, Abellio Greater Anglia was not planning to introduce any new trains[27] before their second franchise term started in October 2016. On 31 May 2015, the company's fleet of Class 315 trains were cascaded to London Overground and TfL Rail, and some Class 317 trains have been cascaded to London Overground, which has taken over local services in North and East London from the AGA franchise.

Fleet table

Class Image Type Top speed Carriages Number Routes operated Built
mph km/h
Class 37 Diesel 80 129 N/A 4 Wherry Lines 1960–65
Class 68 Diesel 100 161 3 2013–
Mark 2 Carriage Carriage 100 161 6 1963–75
Class 90 Electric 110 177 N/A 15 Great Eastern Main Line 1987–90
Mark 3 Carriage Carriage 125 201 130 1975–88
DVT 110 177 15 1988
Class 153
Super Sprinter
DMU 75 121 1 5 Bittern Line,
East Suffolk Line,
Ely to Peterborough Line,
Felixstowe Branch Line,
Gainsborough Line,
Ipswich to Ely Line,
Wherry Lines
Class 156
Super Sprinter
DMU 75 121 2 9 1987–89
Class 170/2
DMU 100 161 2 4 Bittern Line,
Breckland Line,
East Suffolk Line,
Ely to Peterborough Line,
Ipswich to Ely Line,
Wherry Lines
3 8
Class 317/5 EMU 100 161 4 15 Fen Line,
Hertford East Branch Line,
Lea Valley Lines,
West Anglia Main Line
Class 317/6 24 1985–87
Class 317/7 1 1981–82
Class 317/8 6 1981–82
Class 321/3 EMU 100 161 4 66 Braintree Branch Line,
Crouch Valley Line,
Great Eastern Main Line,
Mayflower Line,
Shenfield to Southend Line,
Sunshine Coast Line
Class 321/4 28 1989–90
Class 360/1
EMU 100 161 4 21 Braintree Branch Line,
Great Eastern Main Line,
Mayflower Line,
Sunshine Coast Line
Class 379
EMU 100 161 4 30 Fen Line,
Stansted Express,
West Anglia Main Line

Future fleet

In August 2016 it was announced 1,043 new carriages would be purchased, with Bombardier to build 111 Aventra electric multiple units and Stadler to build 58 FLIRT electric multiple units, which will come into service between January 2019 and September 2020.[18][19][28] This will allow for all of the ageing stock to be replaced, especially given that a number of coaches are not compliant with accessibility requirements beyond 2019 and they would not be able to meet Abellio's new targets for lower journey times without extensive modification.[29][30]

The following types of rolling stock are planned:[19]

Class Image Type Top speed Carriages Number Routes operated Built Entry into service
mph km/h
TBA EMU 100 161 5 89 West Anglia, Great Eastern TBA 2019–20
10 22
TBA EDMU[31] 100 161 3 14 Regional routes TBA 2019–20
4 24
EMU 12 10 Inter-city routes
12 10 Stansted Express
Inter-city stopper

Past fleet

Former units operated by Abellio Greater Anglia include:

Class Image Type Top speed Carriages Number Built Withdrawn Notes
mph km/h
Class 315 EMU 75 121 4 61 1980–81 2015 Transferred to
TfL Rail (44)
London Overground (17)


Abellio Greater Anglia has continued to repaint rolling stock in the same base white livery as National Express East Anglia used, but with red doors instead of blue using Greater Anglia logos. During late 2013 new Abellio Greater Anglia logos started to be applied to trains.


In November 2013, an online petition was launched, with the aim to stop Greater Anglia trains from dumping raw sewage from the train toilets.[32] There have also been concerns with the 'sewage mist' from passing trains making Network Rail staff ill, and Greater Anglia is "working closely" with the government to introduce a fleet upgrade.[33]


Greater Anglia's fleet is maintained at Clacton-on-Sea, Ilford and Norwich Crown Point depots.


  1. Pick up only northbound, set down only southbound.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Request stop


  1. Companies House extract company no 7861414 Abellio East Anglia Limited
  2. "National Express Group Announced as Preferred Bidder for new Greater Anglia Franchise". Strategic Rail Authority. 22 December 2003. Archived from the original on 4 January 2004.
  3. "National Express wins rail franchise". The Daily Telegraph. London. 22 December 2003.
  4. "National Express loses East Anglia rail franchise". BBC News. 26 November 2009.
  5. Millward, David (26 November 2009). "National Express loses East Anglia franchise three years early". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  6. "Rail Franchising". Department for Transport. 17 June 2010.
  7. Osborne, Alistair (15 September 2010). "National Express wins extension to East Anglia rail franchise". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  8. "Shortlisted Bidders for Greater Anglia and Intercity West Coast Rail Franchises" (PDF). Department for Transport. 24 March 2011.
  9. 1 2 "Better services for East Anglian passengers under new franchise" (Press release). Department for Transport. 20 October 2011.
  10. "Abellio awarded Greater Anglia franchise". Railway Gazette International. London. 20 October 2011.
  11. "Abellio has been awarded the Greater Anglia Franchise" (Press release). Abellio. 20 October 2011.
  12. "Railway plan puts new focus on passengers". Department for Transport. 26 March 2013.
  13. London Overground operator appointed to run additional services for TfL Travel & Tour World 4 June 2013
  14. TfL announces MTR to run Crossrail services Transport for London 18 July 2014
  15. Shortlist for East Anglia franchise announced Department for Transport 2 June 2015
  16. Stagecoach pulls out of East Anglia rail franchise bid BBC News 9 December 2015
  17. Better journeys for rail passengers and boost for Derby train industry as new East Anglia franchise announced Department for Transport 10 August 2016
  18. 1 2 Bombardier gets £1bn contract in biggest rail boost since Victorian era BBC News 10 August 2016
  19. 1 2 3 "Stadler and Bombardier to supply trains for Abellio East Anglia franchise". Railway Gazette International. 10 August 2016.
  20. "Sudbury, Peterborough and Lowestoft get a better link for commuters as Abellio signs new franchise for Greater Anglia services". East Anglian Daily Times.
  21. Timetables | Abellio Greater Anglia
  22. "Stansted Express". Abellio Greater Anglia. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  23. "Dutchflyer". Stena Line. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  24. "Rail performance results period 7". Network Rail. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  25. "Greater Anglia named train operator of the year". Rail Business Awards. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  26. "Best and worst UK train companies". Which?. 17 February 2014. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
  27. "Greater Anglia franchise agreement" (PDF). Department for Transport. 1 November 2011.
  28. Abellio wins East Anglian rail franchise for nine years in £1.4bn deal East Anglian Daily Times 10 August 2016
  29. Class 317 Angel Covering Letter Department for Transport 23 April 2010
  30. Abellio Greater Anglia/ Stansted Express National Rail Enquiries
  31. "New trains as Abellio scoops East Anglia franchise". Rail. 10 August 2016.
  32. "Commuters demand end to raw toilet waste being dumped at Liverpool Street station". Metro. London. 18 December 2013.
  33. "Cambridge rail worker's health fears over excrement spray". BBC News. 18 December 2013.

Media related to Abellio Greater Anglia at Wikimedia Commons

Preceded by
National Express East Anglia
Greater Anglia franchise
Operator of Greater Anglia franchise
2012 - 2016
Succeeded by
Greater Anglia
East Anglia franchise
Preceded by
Abellio Greater Anglia
Greater Anglia franchise
Operator of East Anglia franchise
2016 – present
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