Abellio Greater Anglia apologises for three-hour train delay misery last night - as commuters continue to face problems this morning

Disruption on the Norwich to London Liverpool Street line last night. Photo: Wendy Pilmer Disruption on the Norwich to London Liverpool Street line last night. Photo: Wendy Pilmer

Wednesday, June 18, 2014
12:39 PM

Rail bosses have apologised for disruption on the Norwich to London Liverpool Street line last night, which saw trains delayed by more than three hours - as passengers continue to face problems this morning.

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The delays, which continued until 2am, came after overhead power problems caused a train to break down at Chelmsford.

This morning, frustrated commuters were still being affected by cancellations and delays.

The 6.24am Norwich to London Liverpool Street train was cancelled due to a train fault and services through Chelmsford are still subject to a 10-minute delay.

In a statement on its website Jamie Burles, managing director of Abellio Greater Anglia, said: “I would like to apologise for the delays and cancellations that affected our Mainline services throughout the evening of Tuesday 17 June.

“These were caused by an overhead power line problem between Chelmsford and Hatfield Peverel which resulted in a train failing, blocking one of the two lines.

“Whilst we aimed to provide alternative services wherever possible, the reduced line capacity did unfortunately result in lengthy delays for many customers.”

Police were called to London Liverpool Street after tempers boiled over, as passengers took to Twitter to complain about the delays.

In a series of tweets to the Eastern Daily Press, passenger Andy newman said: “On a broken down train in Essex (1600 Ldn-Nch), line completely blocked, ‘waiting for a tow’. No power, no aircon, total chaos.

“Unbelievable. We are now told we are going to be thrown off this train where it is, presumably so we can walk to Norwich.

“It seems we are going to be abandoned trackside. Time to strip @greateranglia of its franchise.”

Passenger Paul Royall said: “Delayed for over 5hrs on the way home to Norwich last night, thanks @greateranglia. Tea urns and paper cups @ stations would cost nothing!”

Greater Anglia added that they will be holding an investigation into the incident and said that customers who chose not to travel may use their tickets today.

Were you affected by the problems? Tweet @EDP24

23 comments

  • Marty R you're so right, don't blame GA as every inch of track and overhead cables is owned by Network Rail, if either of those fail it's their fault and NOT the train operator. When will people get this into their head. Network Rail have a great deal to answer for!!!!!!!!

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    melalmighty

    Thursday, June 19, 2014

  • And stop criticising GA for increasing fares. This is happening because the govt is reducing subsidies for rail travel, eventually to nil subsidy. So your tickets are going to get even more expensive in the free market. Why should the vast majority of us, who don't use trains have to pay towards those who do?

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    marty r

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • If people don't like the product on offer, for whatever reason, make a market decision and buy another product. Nobody is forced to travel by train!

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    marty r

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • @expat Please feel free to live close to where you work - that is your choice and your privilege. For some, including myself, that may not possible - for reasons that I choose not to share here. Do feel free to keep voicing your rather simplistic and frankly poorly informed opinions... they do not change the facts: 1) We pay for an expensive service 2) We do not get that service 3) The problem is a systemic one and can''t be placed at any one door - hence my comment. The very fact that Abellio feels the need to even express that this was an infrastructure failure as well as a train failure shows the futility of shared responsibility - no one organisation can solve this. It is not 'simples' as you so childishly put it. If it were then I would be sure you could solve it.

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    wearytraveller

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • @wearytraveller - of course everyone knows how to fix this mess. All the whinging commuters have to do is to move to London close to where they work..... simples. Living close to where I have been employed always worked for me.... whatever part of the world

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    expat

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • The commuter despairs... not because he is delayed - but because he knows it will happen again and again and again. No-one knows how to fix this mess.

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    wearytraveller

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • I travelled to and from London on Sunday 8th June, the return journey was a terrible experience. We were meant to change at Colchester which was no problem on the way out. My 2130 train left London, when we got to Marks Tey we stopped and we did not move. After several minutes an announcement said there was a problem with the track. After another 15 mins we were told the train was terminated. We were dumped on the station at Marks Tey with no explanation except a train would @be along@ No time was given, our train was returned to London. After 45 minutes the board at the totally unmanned station said the next train due through was delayed. Finally it arrived and we all doubled up, we waited patiently on board and an announcement was made that there was signal failure at Colchester. This is the worst customer service ever, no communication to 100 plus abandoned passengers in Essex. Finally we got to Colchester, we were diverted on foot outside of the station by barriers which kept us apart from the passengers delayed in the opposite direction, the train staff at Colchester watched us from upstairsd windows as we re-entered the station. No-one spoke to us but the customer service was open, we distributed delay forms ourselves, no apologies were forthcoming. A board told us the Norwich train was on platform 4 at 23.58. Many people tried to board a train on platform 4 and were rudely told by the driver to get off, this was an Ipswich train. We waited forn the late arrival of the train to Norwich and we arrived in Norwich at 01.20 and several of us spoke to customer service at Norwich who were far more apologetic and helpful and gave us complaint forms. This was the worst customer service I have ever had and it has deteriorated since Abellio bought Greater Anglia. To abandon passengers on a platform miles from home with no explanation is terrible, there were children, people with sticks etc. The only information we could get was via the internet. Dreadful

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    karenw182

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • Myself daughter and grandson were awaiting to go home from London to Norwich last night then got delayed. There was no point in getting upset (albiet it frustrating)as these things happen and we got home in the end tired and hungry!!!!

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    Rosemary Groom

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • A lot of what's been said here is true. But why are they trying to mislead us with the title of the article. I was caught up in this and the delay was 4 - 5 hours NOT 3. They can't even get that right. LIARS!!!

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    MT

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • At least I have my £6.50 (if I'm lucky) compensatory rail voucher to look forward to (which I won't be able to use until April 2015 because I have a yearly ticket).

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    GeorgeStark

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • Why is anybody shocked anymore? My wife and I have just been to London for a few days to celebrate an anniversary. As a treat we bought 1st class tickets and in return got 3rd class service. Over half our journey was travelled in non 1st class and on the bit that was, 3 out of the 4 toilets were out of order.

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    Yarco

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • Yes, GA may not be to blame for the mechanical failure (this time) but they are most certainly to blame for the appalling way they handled this and every other major delay which happens on their line. I've never come across another company that treats its customers with such utter contempt, as GA do their passengers (with the possible exception of RyanAir and both companies do so for the same reason: both RyanAir and GA customers have little or no alternatives). I arrived at Stratford last night at 18:50 and including waiting on the platform for about 45 minutes and watching several trains leave that were too full to board, I arrived at Chelmsford at 21:24. At one point, the absolutely jammed train I was on (stood in the doorway, with 10 or so others, in sweltering heat), stopped 100yds outside Ingatestone station and didn't move for 40 minutes. It was so bad, there was talk of using the emergency door release so we could walk down the track; AND the platform at Ingatestone was EMPTY! Why? The driver's announcements were a joke and so quiet that we could only make out the first few words of what this idiot was saying. I missed my last bus, so also had to pay £10 for a taxi back to my car which, of course, GA won't compensate me for. Neither will they (nor can they) compensate me for missing my little girl's bedtime. All this for £3,500 per year, which continues to increase each January (for reasons I just can't fathom...the trains are dirty, they're delayed, they're old (last night's train didn't even have air-con), yet we continue to pay more and more for less and less). £3.5m is being spent on 'improving' Chelmsford station...how much time does anybody actually spend 'in' the station? All I want are seats on the platform (of which there aren't even enough of those at Chelmsford), a couple of convenience stores and a cash machine (which has of course, been removed while these 'improvements' take place) AND the trains to run on time! Spend £3.5m on getting the service to run properly, rather than wasting it on the station!

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    GeorgeStark

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • Fine i will concede that its not all GA fault so I will change my stance to I hate all parties involved in the shambles that is the Norwich to London line - £8k per year should pay for a way better service than this!

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    Donna Edwards

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • Its Wednesday morning and its happening all over again !

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    Albert Cooper

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • Donna Edwards, the train that's lost pantograph was probably doing speed, the train probably not at fault, something could have been hanging from the overheads, it does happen, and the 2 hours disruption this morning was caused by stock being misplaced, i.e some still up in the London area, when it should have been at Norwich, these things happen, and it is unfortunate that people are going to be delayed, station staff is minimal, and normally left with one manwoman to sort it out

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    Derek McDonald

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • I don't know if it's fair to blame GA for the actual incident but it is for the way they handled the aftermath. There are some simple steps which they should put in place of incidents like this that occur at that time of day - yes they have drawbacks too but last night was just silly. - If a outbound line is broken during the evening rush hour (or an inbound during the morning) they should just use the other line the wrong way. It would upset fewer people and prevent the dangerous situation at Liverpool St we saw last night. - Communication - last night the message was just an incident being investigated. We're all intelligent and being treated otherwise just makes people angry. Give people the details - it would have been better to explain what was known at the time so people can make thier own minds up. Other transport options - passengers for IpswichNorwich should have been told to travel via Cambridge the moment it became clear it was a serious issue. Passengers for Witham, Braintree and SudburyMarks Tey should have been told to travel to Stanstead. Alternatively trains should have run up to Shenfield or Chelmsford and transport around the problem should have been arranged via other means. GA really should have a contingency in place for this and communicate clearly what alternatives there are. - Look after vunerable travellers - Refreshments should be available for free in particularly hot (or cold) weather. We've had this experience and the one at Colchester a month back where they had over running engineering. Neither handled very well and it's caused a lot of bad feeling when people are monopolised into using this service that costs so much.

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    Dan Orsborne

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • It's a complex situation a loco lost its paragraph on the down main line 25,000 volts ithe power has to be turned off first then the train would have to be dragged out of the way to a passing. Loop of station loop. A few months ago a standby loco would have been at Colchester for rescue duties this was done way with by Abellio greater Anglia not a good move the closest engine was at stowmarket. The other option would to have to have got a loco off a liner train but may be nothing in the area at the time so blame culture goes into overdrive at the end only one to blame is the govement and the DFT MPs like moaning about the state of the railways in the east but they run it via the DFT

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    Glenn Rivett

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • I Dont think its unfair to blame GA. The overhead wire fault was caused by a broken down train, which is owned by GA. They have invester money in painting it to make it pretty but not it making it a newer more efficent model. The annoucements mix ups, semding passengers from one traint o another only to realise they had annouced stops wrong is just unacceptable. oh and then after the 5 hr delay last night we had another 2 hrs woth of distruption this morning!!!!!!!!!! oh and an £300 rise on a ticket. so yes I do think GA along with Network rail and the goverment have a shed load to answer for becuase £8k PER YEAR should get me a better service than this!

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    Donna Edwards

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • Yes, unfair to blame GA. They do not own or maintain the tracks or the overhead. That is another company. Fragmented system will always have this problem. I don't recall this level of chaos when BR ran the line. Third rail dc is costly to build as it requires feeder stations every few miles due to voltage drop. Overhead has advantages but is more fragile. Swings and roundabouts.

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    marty r

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • It has always puzzled me why when they electrify a rail line they use overhead cables rather than the third rail system that was used in London and the south east during the 1930s they seem to have far fewer problems with electrical supply and no overhead wires to be blown or pulled down

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    blister

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • You cannot blame Greater Anglia, if the over head power goes, then everything stops, you cannot do much to passengers when trains are stuck because of no overhead power, the overheads if damage by another train probably meant anything of up to mile in damage, 25,000 vaults its not to be laughed at. Overhead has to be switched off until overhead line engineers see what damage, then they can shorten the section of power to try and move some trains, another point is Drivers of trains were probably on last trip, so must be over the legal time limit to drive trains, another safety aspect.

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    Derek McDonald

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • Abellio Greater Anglia

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    Piranha24

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • “It seems we are going to be abandoned trackside. Time to strip @greateranglia of its franchise.” No. Greater Anglia might have handled the situation better on the trains themselves once passengers were trapped en route, but they are not to blame for the overhead line failure that caused the incident. That's down to Network Rail. The problem is that the entire SYSTEM is broken - another franchisee would run exactly the same risks as GA.

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    gilded beams

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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