March Society enjoy informative talk about railway developments and future plans

Greater Anglia's Alan Neville was the speaker at the March Society's January meeting.

Greater Anglia's Alan Neville was the speaker at the March Society's January meeting. - Credit: Archant

The March Society enjoyed a very informative talk about railway developments and future plans both locally and nationally.

It was given by Alan Neville, customer engagement and stakeholder manager at Greater Anglia.

Alan’s annual update has become very popular at the society and many comments and questions were raised at this latest event. He explained the extent of the upgrade and maintenance work carried out nationally over the Christmas and New Year period.

It included 260 Network Rail projects, 3,400 work sites with 32,600 workers at a cost of £160 million. The work was done on schedule and on budget.

It included urgent work done at Manea bridge where, working over the flooded washes, timbers and steelwork were replaced.

Numbers of passengers continues to increase at all local stations and the rail industry generally is growing rapidly.

Increased usage of Waterbeach Station has meant that its platform will be extended to take eight coaches instead of four and the imminent construction of thousands on new homes near Waterbeach will almost certainly necessitate a new station being built, north of the existing station. Other platform extension projects are being planned at East Anglian stations.

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Greater Anglia is continuing with its refurbishment of trains pending complete replacement of the complete fleet of trains in 2019/20.

Talking ticket machines, extensions to Wi-Fi on the existing fleet of trains and many other improvements will happen this year.

On the Great Northern network through trains to Gatwick and Brighton will commence in May and Heathrow Airport will be connected by one change at Farringdon once Crossrail is completed next year. In December Virgin Azuma Trains will start running on the East Coast mainline. These will be faster, have extra seating and run more frequently than current trains.

Alan commented that the usage of the railways had grown enormously since privatisation with the doubling of passenger numbers. This is expected to continue to increase when projects including Crossrail are completed and other future large scale projects approved.

The March Society’s February event is ‘A Different Quiz!’ with quizmaster Keith Wilkinson on Wednesday February 7 at 7pm in March Library with tea, coffee, biscuits and the latest news. All welcome. Members £2, non-members £3. Please note the change of date to the first Wednesday in February.