Greater Anglia will continue to operate north Essex’s mainline trains until October 2016.
As part of a new contract agreed with the Department for Transport, a series of investments have been agreed, including:
- Power points, new carpets, new seat covers, better lighting and upgraded toilets on intercity services
- An enhanced Sunday service on the Marks Tey to Sudbury line
- More standard seats on weekday services
Dutch company Abellio was originally awarded the Greater Anglia franchise by the Government until July 2014, but its short-term agreement has now been extended.
Witham MP Priti Patel, who has campaigned for rail improvements in Essex, said: “Over the next two years commuters should see some real and positive changes to the passenger experience.
“Better facilities and the refresh of rolling stock will make journeys more pleasant."
"While today's announcement is good news for passengers, new upgrades to the line are needed.
“I will continue to work with other MPs, Government Ministers, rail users and businesses to campaign for commuters in Essex to get the best rail services possible.
"By campaigning together with one voice across the East of England we’ve been able to secure these improvements.
“Through the ongoing work of the Great Eastern Main Line Rail Taskforce, commuters can be confident that more improvements will follow.”
Transport secretary Patrick McLouglin said: “This deal means real improvements for passengers on the Greater Anglia network.
“It means more services and better-equipped trains, including international connections via Stansted Airport to the rest of Europe that the region needs.”
Abellio Greater Anglia managing director Jamie Burles said: "We are passionate about further increasing performance and customer service standards, to deliver a better service on a more consistent basis.
"This agreement enables us to maintain the positive momentum we have generated over the last two years."