National Express East Anglia
Franchise(s)Greater Anglia
1 April 2004 – 4 February 2012
Main region(s)East of England
Other region(s)London, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire
Stations called at168
Parent companyNational Express
Reporting markLE[1]
SuccessorGreater Anglia
Route map
Route map

National Express East Anglia[2] (NXEA) was a train operating company in England owned by National Express that operated the Greater Anglia franchise from April 2004 until February 2012. Originally trading as One, it was rebranded National Express East Anglia in February 2008. It provided local, suburban and express services from London Liverpool Street to destinations in Essex, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Norfolk in the East of England.


One liveried Class 90 at Liverpool Street station in March 2007
Class 156 at Marks Tey in March 2008
One liveried Class 315 at Hackney Downs station in August 2007
Class 321 at Liverpool Street station
Class 379 in Norwich in January 2011

When the British Rail services operating out of London Liverpool Street were privatised in January 1997, they were divided up between three train operating companies, Anglia Railways, First Great Eastern and West Anglia Great Northern.

In December 2001, the Strategic Rail Authority announced it planned to combine all of the services operating out of London Liverpool Street into one Greater Anglia franchise.[3][full citation needed][4]

In April 2003, the Strategic Rail Authority announced Arriva, GB Railways and National Express had been shortlisted to bid for the new franchise.[5] In December 2003, the franchise was awarded to National Express with all the services operated by Anglia Railways and First Great Eastern along with those out of London Liverpool Street by West Anglia Great Northern, transferring to One on 1 April 2004.[6][7] The franchise was to run until March 2011, with provision for a three-year extension if performance targets were met.


The area names from the former franchises were initially retained as sub-brands by the new franchise, One Anglia, One Great Eastern and One West Anglia, however other than Stansted Express all services were soon branded as just One, reflecting the union of the three smaller franchises into one single franchise. This led to passenger confusion as they were unable to establish if announcements were for the 07:20 One service, or the 07:21 service resulting in the company's name being omitted from announcements.[8][full citation needed]

National Express East Anglia

In February 2008, as part of a group wide rebranding exercise, the franchise was redesignated again. This time it became National Express East Anglia.[9][10]

In November 2009, the Department for Transport announced National Express would not be granted the three-year extension that it had met the criteria for, because of it defaulting on the National Express East Coast franchise.[11][12]

Following a change of government at the 2010 General Election, the Department for Transport announced all refranchising would be put on hold while a review was conducted into the franchising process.[13][14] As a result, National Express were granted an initial extension until October 2011, followed by another until February 2012.[15]

After February 2012 the trains were run by Greater Anglia a subsidiary of Nederlandse Spoorwegen.


In addition to its domestic services, the company was also a partner with Stena Line and Nederlandse Spoorwegen in the Dutchflyer service. Most of the London services use Liverpool Street as their terminus.

Former Anglia franchise

Former Great Eastern franchise

Former West Anglia Great Northern franchise

For eight weeks in summer 2004, Ipswich tunnel was closed with One running two Norwich to Liverpool Street services via Cambridge with Cotswold Rail Class 47s.[16]

In December 2004 new services were introduced from Liverpool Street to Lowestoft (via East Suffolk Line or Norwich), Peterborough, Bury St Edmunds and Cambridge via Ipswich.[17] However, in December 2010 these services become withdrawn.[18]

The Liverpool Street to Harwich International Boat Trains used to be operated by Class 86s and Mark 2s, however EMUs took over the service.[19][full citation needed]

Rolling stock

One inherited a fleet of Class 86, Mark 2 carriages, Driving Brake Standard Opens, Class 150, Class 153 and Class 170 Turbostar, Class 312, Class 315, Class 317, Class 321 and Class 360s from Anglia Railways, First Great Eastern and West Anglia Great Northern.

A franchise commitment was the replacement of the Class 86s and Mark 2 carriages with Class 90s and Mark 3 carriages that were being replaced by Virgin Trains with the Class 390 Pendolino. Initially the Mark 3s entered service in the same run-down condition in which they had left Virgin, before all were overhauled at Bombardier Transportation's Derby Litchurch Lane Works. The last Class 86s and Mark 2 carriages were withdrawn in late 2006.

In 2005, the Class 150s were exchanged with nine Class 156s from Central Trains. In 2009, National Express East Anglia received 17 Class 321s transferred from London Midland.

Another franchise commitment was the procurement of new stock for the Stansted Express service. This resulted in 30 four-carriage Class 379 Electrostars being ordered; the first entered service in March 2011.[20]

A Class 47 was hired from Cotswold Rail for use on rescue duties and to haul the initial weekday and later Summer Saturday only services from Norwich to Great Yarmouth. After Cotswold ceased trading in 2009, Direct Rail Services Class 47s were hired. DB Schenker often provided Class 90s to cover for unavailability of One's fleet.

Fleet at start of franchise

Class Image Type Top speed Number Built Withdrawn Inherited from
mph km/h
47 Diesel locomotive 95 153 Hired from
Cotswold Rail
1962–1968 2009[a] N/A
86 Electric locomotive 100 161 15 1965–1966 2005 Anglia Railways
150/2 Sprinter DMU 75 121 10 1984–1987 2005[b]
153 Super Sprinter 75 121 7 1987–1988 2 in 2005[b]
170/2 Turbostar 100 161 12 1999–2002 N/A
312 EMU 90 145 3 1975–1978 2004[c] First Great Eastern
315 75 121 61 1980–1981 N/A First Great Eastern & WAGN
317/1 100 161 27 1981–1982 2006[d] WAGN
317/6 100 161 24 1985–1987 N/A
317/7 100 161 9 1981–1982 2012[e]
321 100 161 77 1988–1990 N/A First Great Eastern
360/1 Desiro 100 161 21 2002–2003 N/A
Mark 2 carriage Passenger carriage 100 161 115 1964–1975 2005 Anglia Railways
DBSO 100 161 13 1979–1986 2006
  1. ^ Hired from Direct Rail Services after cessation of Cotswold Rail.
  2. ^ a b Exchanged for Central Trains Class 156s in 2005
  3. ^ Withdrawn immediately after start of franchise
  4. ^ Converted to 317/5 & 317/8.
  5. ^ Withdrawn at end of franchise

Fleet at end of franchise

Class Image Cars per set Type Top speed Number Routes operated Built
mph km/h
47 N/A Diesel locomotive 95 153 Hired from
Direct Rail Services
Train Rescue
Norwich - Great Yarmouth
(Summer Only),
Norwich - Lowestoft
(Summer Only)
90 Electric locomotive 110 177 15 London - Norwich 1987–1990
153 Super Sprinter 1 DMU 75 121 5 Ipswich - Felixstowe,
Norwich - Great Yarmouth,
Norwich - Lowestoft
Sudbury - Marks Tey
156 Super Sprinter 2 75 121 9 Ipswich - Saxmundham,
Norwich - Great Yarmouth,
Norwich - Lowestoft
Norwich - Sheringham,
Sudbury - Marks Tey
170/2 Turbostar 2 or 3 100 161 12 Ipswich - Cambridge,
Ipswich - Peterborough,
Ipswich - Lowestoft,
Norwich - Cambridge
315 4 EMU 75 121 61 London - Shenfield,
London - Hertford East
(Peak Hours and Weekends only)

London - Enfield Town,
London - Cheshunt
London - Chingford
317/5 100 161 15 London - Stansted Airport,
London - Cambridge,
London - Hertford East,
London - Chingford,
London - Enfield Town
Stratford - Bishop Stortford
317/6 100 161 24 London - Stansted Airport,
London - Cambridge,
London - Hertford East,
London - Chingford,
London - Enfield Town
Stratford - Bishop Stortford,
Romford - Upminster
317/7 100 161 9
(Withdrawn when
franchise ended)
London - Stansted Airport,
London - Cambridge,
London - Chingford
London - Hertford East,
London - Enfield Town
London - Norwich,
London - Harwich International
317/8 4 EMU 100 161 12 London - Stansted Airport,
London - Cambridge,
London - Hertford East,
London - Chingford, London - Enfield Town
Stratford - Bishop Stortford
321 100 161 94 London - Braintree,
London - Ipswich,
London - Southend Victoria,
London - Clacton,
Colchester - Walton-on-Naze
Manningtree - Harwich,
Wickford - Southminster
360/1 Desiro 100 161 21 London - Ipswich,
London - Clacton,
London - Colchester Town
379 Electrostar 100 161 30 London - Stansted Airport
London - Cambridge
Mark 3 carriage N/A Passenger carriage 110 177 120 London - Norwich
Norwich - Great Yarmouth
(Summer Only),
Norwich - Lowestoft
(Summer Only)
Driving Van Trailer 110 177 15 1988


Class 315:

Class 321:

Class 360:

Class 379:


Infrastructure problems have affected performance. According to Network Rail, the main problems have been track-circuit failures, broken rails, track faults, points failures and overhead line equipment (OLE) failures.[21] Network Rail, which is responsible for the infrastructure, intended to improve performance by work carried out during a planned closure of London Liverpool Street station over Christmas and New Year 2007/8. This allowed much of the outer London overhead line equipment to be replaced by modern, self-tensioning lines.[21] The work was carried out, but overran at short notice by some 24 hours, causing ridicule in the national press.[22]

Detailed figures (from the January edition of Modern Railways) of the miles covered per 5-minute delay for the year ending October 2009 showed that the most reliable trains in the fleet were again the Class 360 Desiros (mainly Clacton-on-Sea to London Liverpool Street), which achieved over 38,000 miles per five-minute delay. The 'workhorse' Class 321s by comparison returned some 21,500 miles per five-minute delay, while the 'Inter-City' Class 90 locomotive-hauled Norwich - Liverpool Street trains came in at some 14,000 miles per five-minute delay - this last figure being a 35% improvement on last year's 10,400. The Class 90 locomotives won the Silver Spanner award for InterCity rolling stock at the Annual National Rail Awards 2009.


In March 2011, the Department for Transport announced Abellio, Go-Ahead, and Stagecoach had been shortlisted to bid for the new Greater Anglia franchise.[23] In October 2011, the new franchise was awarded to Abellio with the services operated by National Express East Anglia transferring to Greater Anglia on 5 February 2012.[24][25]


  1. ^ "National Express East Anglia". National Rail Enquiries. National Rail. Archived from the original on 19 June 2009. Retrieved 14 August 2021.
  2. ^ Companies House extract company no 4955356 London Eastern Railway Limited
  3. ^ Rail Magazine. No. 426. 9 January 2002. p. 4. ((cite magazine)): Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ "SRA Starts Process To Facilitate New Greater Anglia Franchise" (Press release). Strategic Rail Authority. 27 March 2002.
  5. ^ "Group shocked as rail bid fails". 1 April 2003.
  6. ^ National Express Group Announced as Preferred Bidder for new Greater Anglia Franchise Strategic Rail Authority 22 December 2003
  7. ^ "National Express wins rail franchise". The Daily Telegraph. 22 December 2003.
  8. ^ Rail Magazine. No. 488. 26 May 2004. p. 11. ((cite magazine)): Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ New Identity for National Express Group Archived 8 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine National Express Group plc 15 November 2007
  10. ^ Rail company rebrands as National Express Archived 2 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine Eastern Daily Press (Norwich) 27 February 2008
  11. ^ "National Express loses East Anglia rail franchise". BBC News. 26 November 2009.
  12. ^ Millward, David (26 November 2009). "National Express loses East Anglia franchise three years early". The Daily Telegraph.
  13. ^ Rail Franchising Department for Transport 17 June 2010
  14. ^ "Franchise replacements put on hold by Department for Transport". RailNews. Stevenage. 18 June 2010.
  15. ^ Osborne, Alistair (15 September 2010). "National Express wins extension to East Anglia rail franchise". The Daily Telegraph.
  16. ^ The Blockade September 2004
  17. ^ Rail Magazine issue 502 8 December 2004 page 34
  18. ^ Summer 2009 Newsletter Mid Anglia Rail Passengers Association
  19. ^ Rail Magazine. No. 503. 22 December 2004. p. 9. ((cite magazine)): Missing or empty |title= (help)
  20. ^ "National Express unveils first new Class 379 Train at preview event" (Press release). National Express. 13 October 2010.[permanent dead link]
  21. ^ a b Network Rail - Route Plans 2007: Route 7 Great Eastern Archived 29 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine pp. 4-5
  22. ^ Jameson, Angela (3 January 2008). "Hamfisted handling of delays adds to the pain". The Times. London.
  23. ^ Shortlisted Bidders for Greater Anglia and Intercity West Coast Rail Franchises Archived 6 June 2013 at the Wayback Machine Department for Transport 24 March 2011
  24. ^ Greater Anglia rail franchise Department for Transport 20 October 2011
  25. ^ "Abellio has been awarded the Greater Anglia franchise" (Press release). Abellio. 20 October 2011. Archived from the original on 25 October 2011.

Media related to National Express East Anglia at Wikimedia Commons

Preceded byAnglia RailwaysInterCity Anglia franchise Operator of Greater Anglia franchise 2004 – 2012 Succeeded byGreater Anglia Preceded byFirst Great EasternGreat Eastern franchise Preceded byWest Anglia Great NorthernWest Anglia Great Northern franchise