The franchise will begin in July when Abellio's current deal expires and is intended as a stopgap pending the award of a longer-term franchise. The DfT plans to publish a tender notice next March for a 15-year contract to operate Greater Anglia from October 2016.

The interim deal with Abellio includes additional weekday off-peak services between Cambridge and Stansted Airport and the refurbishment of Mk 3 coaches used on London – Ipswich – Norwich services, which will include the installation of controlled emission toilets.

Last November the government announced plans to establish a taskforce which will study options for accelerating services between London and eastern England.