Bosses at Abellio have promised that there are ‘bright times ahead’ after they were awarded the rail franchise for the East of England until 2025 on the condition that they remove the word ‘Greater’ from their name. 

Transport Minister Chris Grayling said: ‘We have been left with no alternative but to allow Abellio to carry on running trains between London, Cambridge, Norwich and Southend.’

‘National Express would have done a reasonable job, but the timetable would have probably taken a hammering, and First should concentrate on buses or whatever for now.’

‘We have awarded the contract to Abellio on the condition that they remove the word ‘Greater’ from their name. We instructed a team of scientists to conduct an investigation during the bidding process, and they discovered that there is nothing remotely great about the service that they run at the moment.’

‘Furthermore, they also found that there are no other rail franchises that are worse – therefore they can’t be allowed to use comparative phrases like ‘greater,’ ‘better’ or ‘comfier.’

‘For these reasons, this government will be insisting that they rebrand as Abellio East Anglia to ensure that rail passengers are not influenced in their judgement about how good they really are.’

The nine-year deal will see a huge investment in new trains that passengers from Southend, Rayleigh and Billericay will be able to stare at while weeping into green upholstery.