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West Anglia Great Northern
Wagn 317 346.JPG
Franchise(s): West Anglia Great Northern:
1997 - April 2004
Great Northern only:
April 2004 - 1 April 2006
Main region(s): East of England
Other region(s): Greater London (north and north-east)
Fleet size: 145
Stations called at: 55
Parent company: National Express Group

WAGN was a UK train operating company that existed from the start of railway privatisation in 1994 until a redrawing of franchise areas took effect in 2006.

The company operated a network of commuter and local services from London King's Cross and London Liverpool Street stations to north London, Cambridgeshire and east Hertfordshire, along with border areas of Essex and Norfolk.

Contents

History

The three corporate logos used by WAGN during its existence

One of the original 25 train operating companies created during the privatisation of British Rail, WAGN came into existence on 1 April 1994[1] and passed into the private ownership of Prism Rail[2] on 5 January 2007.[3]

A takeover of Prism Rail saw WAGN transfer to the control of National Express Group in 2000, but otherwise the company's operations remained essentially unchanged until 1 April 2004 when services operating out of London Liverpool Street transferred to a new, consolidated East Anglia railway franchise, One Railway. After this time the company stopped referring to itself as West Anglia Great Northern, using only the abbreviation WAGN instead.

The company ceased to exist on 1 April 2006 when its remaining services were taken over by First Capital Connect.[4]

Routes and services

With its roots in British Rail's Network SouthEast sector, WAGN was primarily a suburban and commuter railway. Some higher profile express services were also operated, including the non-stop Cambridge Cruiser to and from London and the frequent airport express service, Stansted Express.

WAGN's West Anglia services operated from London Liverpool Street to Chingford, Enfield, Hertford East, Stansted Airport and Cambridge. West Anglia services were eventually surrendered to train operating company One Railway in 2004.

Suburban Great Northern services remained with the company throughout its life and ran from London King's Cross and Moorgate to Peterborough, Cambridge and Kings Lynn.

Trains operated

All WAGN services were operated with electric multiple units inherited from British Rail. At its creation, the company had a varied fleet of over 150 units which ranged from 1970s suburban trains to brand new Network Express units for long-distance services. The company favoured refurbishment of existing trains over the procurement of new ones and the only new additions to the WAGN fleet was a further batch of Network Express units transferred from train company South Eastern during 2004.

The interior of the refurbished WAGN Railway Class 313 EMU

The first fleet of trains to receive an overhaul was the 24-strong Class 317/2 fleet, which was made more suitable for long distance use through repainting, the addition of carpet, installation of lower-density seating and an improved first class area. Improved lighting and dedicated bicycle and wheelchair spaces were also provided, while the exterior gained a new white, brown and red livery.

Suburban trains were also improved as the Class 313 fleet gained new seating with higher backs, wheelchair provision and minor improvements to fittings such as stanchions in the passenger areas. Many emerged from refurbishment work at Railcare Wolverton with a plain white undercoat before a new company-wide two tone purple livery was introduced.

In the late 1990s, a small dedicated fleet of five Class 322 trains for the Stansted Express service were sub-leased to other operators[5] before ultimately finding a permanent home with ScotRail. To replace these units and increase the service frequency, dedicated Class 317/7 units were created through the refurbishment of nine existing Class 317 units during 1999-2000. These featured an improved passenger environment and better accessibility for disabled passengers. A new, metallic blue livery Stansted Express livery was also created.

A large proportion of the fleet eventually transferred to One Railway along with the operation of the West Anglia route. In the remaining two years of the franchise, WAGN completed minor refurbishments to all remaining trains.

Refurbished Class 317/6 EMU in the first WAGN Railway livery at London Liverpool Street
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Fleet details

Class Image Top speed Number Built Notes
mph km/h
Class 313 313064 at London Kings Cross.jpg 75 120 41 1976–1977 Suburban Great Northern services
Class 315 138336 40588224.jpg 75 120 16 1979–1980 Surburban West Anglia services
Transferred to 'One Railway' in April 2004
Class 317 317316 at Cambridge.JPG 100 160 72 1981–1986 Long- and middle-distance services
60 transferred to One Railway in April 2004
Class 365 365530 arriving at Cambridge.JPG 100 160 40 1995 Longer distance Great Northern services
24 originally; 16 were added in 2004 from South Eastern Trains

References

Preceded by
Network SouthEast
As part of British Rail
Operator of West Anglia Great Northern franchise
1997 - 2004/2006
Succeeded by
National Express East Anglia
Greater Anglia franchise
from 2004
Succeeded by
First Capital Connect
Thameslink/Great Northern franchise
from 2006

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