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Railwatch 081 - October 1999

What a wonderful world

By Peter Meades

Anglia Railways were angered by our comparison of their fares with a Great Eastern fare in Railwatch 80. Anglia's Communications Manager Peter Meades responds.

I write in response to the article in the July issue of Railwatch under the heading The great rail fares rip-off' which compared fares between London and Ipswich.

The article was both misleading and inaccurate. The £39 fare quoted is actually the inter-available fare (allowing travel with both train operators who serve Ipswich) which is mainly used for peak time travel journeys from London to Ipswich. However, no mention was made of Anglia Railways' Super Advance fare which costs just £17 to Ipswich and is cheaper than the First Great Eastern £19 fare your editorial did quote. The Super Advance ticket is valid on our 08.30 service from London to customers who reserve such a ticket in advance, which many of our customers prefer to do these days - guaranteeing their seat and saving money at the same time.

Turning to the question of cycles. Your article also mentioned the £3 charge to convey cycles on Anglia Railways' mainline services. This modest charge guarantees a secure cycle space for cyclists reserving with Anglia Railways and travelling to/from London and beyond. Your claim that this encourages car drivers on to the A12 with bike racks is presumably unsubstantiated and fails to acknowledge the positive initiatives that have enabled Anglia Railways to be the proud recipient of our third successive Cycle Mark award.

No other train operator has put together a more positive package of improvements for cyclists than Anglia Railways. Modifying our local train fleet to include cycle racks, a free cycle rescue scheme, secure cycle lockers at stations, a £1 flat fare for cycle carriage on local joumeys, a free cycle reservation scheme and cycle spaces on our new Class 170 trains are just some of the improvements we have been delighted to introduce with the support of local authorities, cycling pressure groups and all the travellers' associations within our area. This includes the East Anglian RDS branches who have been extremely supportive and praiseworthy of the improvements.

Your unjustified and misleading criticisms are not helpful in encouraging the non-rail traveller to think about taking the train, but you can be assured that Anglia Railways is committed to working with groups such as the RDS to bring about even more improvements for rail travellers, by developing integrated transport solutions and offering attractively priced fares to encourage train travel.

Note: contact details (postal and email addresses, along with telephone numbers) in old editions of Railwatch out of date. Click CONTACT US for latest contact details.

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