Ontrack - Walton-on-the-Naze, Frinton-on-Sea, Kirby Cross & Thorpe-le-Soken Rail Users' Association


Walton-on-the-Naze, Frinton-on-Sea, Kirby Cross &
Rail Users' Association

23 April 2014

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Special Announcement - Greater Anglia Franchise Appointment

ONTRACK RUA welcomes the appointment of Abellio (a subsidiary of Dutch Railways) which was one of three strong contenders for the short term interim Greater Anglia Franchise; this franchise is currently operated by National Express East Anglia (NXEA) and stretches across Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. The others contenders were GO AHEAD GROUP and STAGECOACH. All have had good track records in running their current UK rail franchises. NXEA were excluded from the bidding process. Abellio already has interests in several British rail franchises, including Northern Rail and Merseyrail and some bus companies.

The initial period of the interim franchise, starting February 5th 2012, would prove to be a tough challenge for any train operator given the task of taking over at short notice the running of train services to cope with the London 2012 Olympics, when many of the key operational planning decisions may have already been made by the previous incumbent in conjunction with Network Rail and the Department for Transport. However the company has spent a considerable amount of effort in researching the franchise, with representatives touring the local rail network for the last 18 months and meeting local stakeholders. They have so far run a bottom up management style, so decisions ABELLIO take should be based on “bottom up” local feedback and so we have faith that they will be up to the challenge and the successful management of services to and from the Olympic park at Stratford should put Abellio in pole position to win the long term 15 year franchise that is due to follow and for which the bidding process starts late 2012.

We understand that new operator will carry out a range of improvements during the 29 month contract. These will include improvements to stations, ticket facilities and better passenger information. In addition, most of the trains will be 'deep-cleaned', some will be refurbished and more fitted with CCTV.

Thorpe le Soken station

Ontrack Activities

Our key activities are listed here. Ontrack:

  • is an active member of the Essex Rail Users' Federation (ERUF)
  • lobbies appropriate bo dies for enhancements to rail and other forms of public transport
  • promotes the use of rail services

Welcome to Ontrack


Ontrack Rail Users' Association, together with its associated Alresford Rail User Group, is a non-political organisation that represents the interests of passengers using the lines between Colchester, Clacton-on-Sea and Walton-on-the-Naze - the "Sunshine Coast Line".

To further these interests, Ontrack meets regularly with:

  • the local train operating company management
  • Network Rail
  • local authority public transport officials, and
  • Passenger Focus


In addition, Ontrack is a stakeholder in the Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership and a corporate member of Railfuture.

360 at Thorpe le Soken

Latest News - October '11

Christmas Shopping Sunday Service between Walton-on-the-Naze and Colchester Town

"Ontrack" is very pleased that National Express East Anglia will once again be operating Sunday services between Walton-on-the-Naze and Colchester Town this Christmas. These services will commence on 4th December and will operate between approximately 09.30 and 18.00.

Visit the National Express East Anglia website for details:


For more Ontrack news and local rail information, check out our news section on the information page.

Enhancements Ontrack is keen to see

Ontrack is keen to see the following service enhancements

  • Sunday services between Walton-on-the-Naze and Colchester Town (with connections at Thorpe-le-Soken to/from Clacton-on-Sea)
  • improved late evening services, particularly to/from Walton-on-the-Naze
  • increased train service frequency, ideally half-hourly at all stations
  • a general reduction in journey times
  • re-instatement of regular fast train services to/from London through to both Walton and Clacton, and
  • enhanced facilities on train and on station in respect of toilets, catering and disabled access

Older News - July '11

Summer Sunday Service between Colchester Town and Walton-on-the-Naze

"Ontrack" are very pleased that National Express East Anglia have decided to extend their trial of Sunday services between Colchester Town and Walton-on-the-Naze to operate on summer Sundays from 17th July until 4th September.

Older News - December '10

Christmas Shopping Additional Rail Service to Colchester Town

"Ontrack" are pleased that National Express East Anglia (NXEA) have responded positively to our requests to rerun the additional pre-Christmas Sunday local train service into Colchester Town from Walton-on-the-Naze.

Older News - September '10

Ontrack visit to Clacton depot

At the invitation of National Express East Anglia, "Ontrack" officers recently visited the newly re-opened emu maintenance depot at Clacton.

This depot has been brought back into use due to the increased number of emu's in service with NXEA, so that the Ilford depot is incapable of coping with the workload. The tour was led by Depot Manager Iain Warner, who showed us the impressive results of the refurbishment work recently carried out there, including the facilities for lifting a complete 4-car emu for quick bogie replacement. We are very grateful to Iain for taking the time to show us around and also to Jackie Gibbs, NXEA Head of Customer Service, who made the arrangements for the visit.

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