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Still a "massive amount" to do on level-crossing safety, says mother

Olivia Bazlinton and Charlotte Thompson who were killed on the level crossing at Elsenham in 2005.

Network Rail needs to do a "massive amount" to make level crossings safer, the parent of a teenager killed by a train has told MPs.

Tina Hughes, who now works with the firm on improving crossings, said Network Rail had made changes but were only "scratching the surface" of what needed to be done.

Ms Hughes's daughter Olivia Bazlinton, 14, and her friend Charlotte Thompson, 13, were hit by a train in 2005 as they crossed the tracks at Elsenham in Essex.

Ms Hughes, who works with Network Rail as its "level crossing user champion", told MPs: "I believe that they have made very significant changes but they are only just scratching the surface of the things that they need to do. There is a massive amount of work that needs to be done."

Olivia's father Chris Bazlinton, appearing alongside Ms Hughes in front of MPs on the Transport Select Committee, said he believed information about their deaths had been covered up in a "conspiracy of silence".


More than 93% of Greater Anglia trains 'on time'

Greater Anglia has reported that more than 93% of its trains were on time last month.

Abellio, which runs Greater Anglia, said punctuality of its Metro & Southend trains was at 95%, West Anglia service punctuality was at 94.7%, Mainline at 92.5%, Stansted Express at 91.9% and Rural at 91.8%.

Ruud Haket, Managing Director Greater Anglia said: “Our relentless focus on delivering better train service punctuality is positively reflected in these latest performance statistics."

East Coast had most late trains last month

East Coast Credit: PA

East Coast rail had the most late-running trains last month, according to figures from Network Rail.

East Coast was able to run only 82.8% of trains on time, making it the poorest-performing train operator.

Across all train companies, a total of 91.4% of trains ran on time in the period March 3 to March 31, compared with 93.4% for the same period last year.

Rail investment welcomed by Stansted Airport

Officials at Stansted Airport in Essex have welcomed plans by Network Rail to spend more than £2 billion improving the rail infrastructure in our region.

More than £35 billion is set to be invested across the UK, over the next five years.

Airport bosses hope the plans will help to make the 'Stansted in 30' campaign a reality.

Essex County Council also welcomed the announcement, acknowledging the need for an improved rail infrastructure for commuters, business and the economy in this region.

Derrick Louis, Essex County Councilor for Highways and Transportation said:

“Essex is planning significant growth over the next few years, which will place increased pressure on our rail network... We hope that the planned schemes and infrastructure improvements will increase the capacity and reliability of the rail service in our region, providing significant improvements to the infrastructure and rolling stock.

“While the proposed £2.2bn investment set out by Network Rail will cater for growth in the coming years, we believe that further investment will be needed for new railway infrastructure in the long-term, and we will continue to press for this”.

– Essex County Council


Rail investment: East Coast main line

Rail infrastructure set for investment Credit: ITV Anglia

By next year passengers can expect trains to be less packed. A new flyover at Hitchin will carry trains from London to Cambridge over the main line, relieving a key bottleneck.

New platforms planned for Peterborough should increase capacity and reduce congestion there.

From 2014 new trains through the Intercity Express Programme will provide more seats, and £240m will be invested in key pinch points on the East Coast main line including Peterborough.

Rail investment: West Coast main line

Rail infrastructure set for investment Credit: ITV Anglia

From next year services from Oxford to Bletchley and Milton Keynes Central will be reintroduced. The railway line between Oxford and Bedford via Bicester Town and Bletchley will also be electrified. But the plans are wrapped with a warning.

From 2024 the West Coast main line - as Britain's busiest and most economically vital rail artery - will be full with no more space to accommodate the expected growth in demand.

Network Rail believe HS2 would solve the capacity crunch set to face passengers and businesses on the line.

Rail investment: Midland main line

Rail infrastructure set for investment Credit: ITV Anglia

At the moment commuters have to settle for a diesel railway with an ageing infrastructure, by 2020 they'll get to travel on one of the most modern electric railways in Europe.

The overhead lines will be built using the latest technology for reliability and efficiency, whilst signalling will be controlled from Network Rail's state of the art control centre in Derby.

  • £60m could be saved every year once the line is electrified from Bedford to Sheffield. This will also reduce carbon emissions by 13,000 tonnes annually.
  • Thameslink: By 2018, there will be up to 24 services through central London as part of Thameslink, the majority of which will be 12-car trains. The Thameslink programme will also provide passengers from Cambridge with new trains and more destinations.
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