Dear Greater Anglia
Yesterday I contacted your customer services via Twitter (we live in the digital era so Twitter is the quickest way). My reason for contacting them was regarding a request about your current timetable.
I caught the 17.00 Norwich train from London Liverpool Street I noted upon departure that I would end up with a 51 minute wait in Norwich for my connecting train to Great Yarmouth.
Well the 17.00 train arrives into Norwich at 18.42 however the Great Yarmouth train departs at 18.40. So I tweeted to ask why the timetable couldn’t be changed to say a 18.45 departure to Great Yarmouth to allow the London passengers the opportunity to catch this connection. This was the reply I got…
Now I understand that you run many trains but who actually looks at the functionality of the services? Between 18.42 and 19.33 only two other local services depart. The 18.55 to Sheringham and the 19.06 to Lowestoft with the next Great Yarmouth train finally departing at 19.33. So I am at a loss as to how changing the timetable by 5 mins is going to have such an effect on the rail network.
Thanks for your blog post regarding the connections from the 17:00 London-Norwich service. I’m sorry its taken a little while, but as promised we’ve been away and had a chat with our Train Planning team who gave us the following information:
As a general principle, the Great Yarmouth services are planned to have connections from the xx:30 services from London Liverpool St to Norwich. This connects into the regular departures at around xx:36 from Norwich to Great Yarmouth throughout the day. This also works on a Sunday when the London-Norwich service has an hourly frequency. This pattern also means the Great Yarmouth train can return to Norwich to allow connections onto the xx:00 departures back towards London. There are some other connections at peak times (Monday-Friday) as the frequency of the services on the Great Yarmouth line increases at these times.
The 17:00 London – Norwich service is something of an anomaly as it is our fastest train of the day (Monday-Friday) and runs non-stop to Ipswich to provide a fast evening service for customers. This train takes 1 hour 42 minutes to travel from London to Norwich as opposed to the other evening rush hour trains which take between 1 hour 52 minutes and 2 hours 7 minutes. This does mean the 17:00 London – Norwich service arrives close to the Great Yarmouth departure time.
The two options to reduce the connection time from the 17:00 London to Norwich would be to extend the higher frequency service to/from Great Yarmouth beyond the evening peak or to retime the Great Yarmouth service (as you suggest) to leave Norwich at around 18:50 to give customers time to connect with the train.
Unfortunately we are not planning to make either of these changes as there isn’t sufficient demand for the former and the latter would mean the return trip from Great Yarmouth would miss the connections for customers changing onto the London bound service. There are connections from both the 16:30 and 17:30 services as described above.
I’m sorry we’re not planning to make any changes at present, but I hope the above information explains the reasons for the current timetable. We do continue to look for ways to improve our timetables and our Train Planning team are aware of, and will look to improve this situation should the opportunity arise.