The fastest ever train service between Norwich and London began today, delivering ‘Norwich in 90’ five and a half years after George Osborne announced plans to lower journey times.
Operator Greater Anglia is running four extra services between Norwich, Ipswich and London Liverpool Street, with fastest journey times between Norwich and London of 90 minutes and 55-57 minutes between Ipswich and London.
Managing director Jamie Burles (pictured, left) said: ‘Today we travelled on our existing trains, but this service will run on our brand new Intercity trains as we replace all of our existing trains with brand new state-of-the-art modern trains.'
Greater Anglia said businesses and politicians in East Anglia have been calling for faster journey times between Norfolk, Suffolk and London for at least 10 years.
The service was championed through the East Anglian Rail Prospectus and Great Eastern Main Line Taskforce after then chancellor Mr Osborne set the target in November 2013.
The 90-minute services – two in each direction daily – will shave 12 minutes off the current fastest journey between Norwich and London and cut the fastest journey between Ipswich and London by four minutes.
ITV News reported that the first train, which set off from Norwich station at 9am and called at Ipswich half an hour later, completed the journey two minutes ahead of schedule, arriving in London in 88 minutes.
Chris Starkie, chief executive of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said: ‘This is a great milestone following a long period of negotiations and campaigning. It’s a huge step forward in improving customer experience and cutting journey times.
‘Norfolk and Suffolk is one of the fastest growing regions in the country and it needs high quality rail infrastructure to support growth and to help businesses compete in global markets.’