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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Abellio awarded Greater Anglia franchise

Abellio Greater Anglia Limited has been chosen as the new operator for the ‘Greater Anglia’ franchise which is currently operated by National Express East Anglia and stretches across Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.

The franchise is due to start in February 2012 and the duration of the contract is 29 months.

Upon taking over the contract Abellio will be responsible for 3,000 employees and the safe operation of 43,000 services per month, carrying 2 million passengers per week.

Anton Valk, Chief Executive Officer, Abellio, said:

“I am delighted Abellio has been selected for the Greater Anglia franchise.

“This win adds to Abellio’s already successfully operated franchises in the UK, Northern and Merseyrail and is a testament to the growing confidence that the Department for Transport has in our ability to bring positive change to rail services.”

It will be part of the transport provision for the London 2012 Games, serving the Olympic Park area.

Under the terms of the deal, the new operator will carry out a range of improvements including ‘improvements to stations, new ticket facilities and better passenger information’.

In addition, the majority of the train fleet will be ‘deep-cleaned’, some will be refurbished and more carriages will be fitted with CCTV.

Theresa Villiers said:

“This new franchise will start delivering important improvements for passengers, with more to come in the longer contract that will follow it.

“The franchise will also play a significant role in transport for the London 2012 Games providing crucial services to the Olympic Park area.

“We want to make it easier for passengers to use the railways so the new operator will extend Oyster pay-as-you-go services to ten stations on the Shenfield and Hertford East lines and introduce mobile phone and print-at-home ticketing facilities.

“Passengers will also get better access to information as the new operator is introducing a text messaging service to keep passengers informed if disruption occurs and new information desks at major stations including Liverpool Street, Cambridge, Norwich, Ipswich and Stansted Airport.”



  1. I may be wrong but the DfT seems determined to squeeze National Express and the other British-based operators off the rail network and to hand all franchises over to the European state-owned railways. Whilst many observers may be correct in saying that – as long-established rail operators – the likes of Abellio, Deutsche Bahn and Keolis/SNCF will make a much better job of running our trains than “bus companies”, we surely cannot allow a complete foreign takeover of our rail network. In this regard, it should be borne on mind that, apart from FirstGroup in Denmark, no British operators currently operate regular rail services in Europe (Arriva are no longer a British company)!  

  2. National Express are in the naughty corner because of their running away from the East Coast franchise. The fact that the replacement management company are foreign is not especially material in this context.

    • I have no problem whatsoever with Abellio, as they are doing a great job with the Merseyrail Electrics franchise and have been trying their level best at Northern. My gripe is that public transport in Northern Europe is still extremely difficult for British bus/train companies to penetrate. The only successes have been Arriva (until they were taken over by DB) and FirstGroup who have been involved in a few small “pockets” in Denmark and Germany. France in particular is totally closed to “foreign” operators and  until they, and the rest of Europe, open up completely the DfT should be wary about giving further room to the European state-owned operators.


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