The crawl between London and Norwich is about to be turbo charged (or at least get a little speedier), after the government gave the East Anglia rail franchise back to Abellio.
In a statement today the government said its decision will cut travel times between Liverpool Street and Norwich, Cambridge and Peterborough by an average of 10 per cent, after Abellio agreed to oversee a £1.4bn investment into the franchise.
The company will lay on four 90-minute services between London and Norwich, aka the UK's happiest place to work, each weekday (two in each direction), as well as two 60-minute services between London and Ipswich.
The contract, which begins in October this year, also means free wifi on trains and at stations (nb. not always a good thing) – while Abellio said it has made a £1bn order for 1,040 new train carriages from Bombardier, whose Derby manufacturing plant will build them.
Meanwhile, "tough" rules have hiked operational performance targets to 93 per cent, from 89.7 per cent now. By 2021, the franchise will provide more than 32,000 seats at the morning peak, the government reckons. To be fair, Abellio has recently done what Southern Rail couldn't, and warded off strike threats from the RMT union. This could bode well for commuters.
What this means for commuters