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Disruption eases for passengers on the Norwich to London line

PUBLISHED: 07:44 13 December 2016 | UPDATED: 14:38 13 December 2016

Travellers queue for a rail replacement bus at Ipswich train station on earlier this morning. Picture Archant Library

Travellers queue for a rail replacement bus at Ipswich train station on earlier this morning. Picture Archant Library

Archant

The Norwich to London line has reopened after a broken down freight train caused severe delays for passengers throughout this morning.

Services between Ipswich and Colchester were cancelled after a freight train broke down near Manningtree at about 2am, blocking the line.

The train was eventually towed to Colchester at about 8am – but thousands of passengers had their journey to work disrupted. Rush-hour trains were cancelled and customers had to use a “very limited” rail replacement bus service.

From Colchester travellers were able to get a train to London Liverpool Street.

Freightliner, the company running the freight train, said their control room were first informed of a problem with one of their trains at 1.47am due to dragging on the train brakes.

This caused damage to the wheels meaning that when the train was moved to Colchester at approximately 5.30am it could only travel at 3pmh, not the intended 5mph.

And the delays caused major disruption for commuters at Norwich train station.

Dan Rotella, 54, was waiting at the station for his daughter Esme, 20, who was due to arrive at 8am but was delayed for over an hour and a half.

He said: “Esme was returning from a months interrailing, but was forced to change trains on what should have been a simple journey from Harwich to Norwich.”

Stuart, 28, had reserved a seat on the 9am train to London which was delayed, leaving him unable to commute to Heathrow airport, where he expected to fly abroad to his work as an offshore medic.

He added: “I’m unsure as to the extent that the delays will affect my work.”

And a man in his 40s, who didn’t want to be named, was extremely critical of the rail service which repeatedly fails him. He takes the train daily from Ipswich to Norwich for his work as a software test engineer and said trains are “grossly overpriced” and fees keep increasing, despite regular delays and a failure to address key concerns of passengers.

It was a similar story at Ipswich station.

Bethany Snelling, 20, set off from Norwich at 5.45am to get to London for 9am for a legal finance course, which cost her £200.

However, Miss Snelling was still queuing at Ipswich station at 7.50am waiting for a bus to Colchester to then get a train to London.

“I’m not going to get there on time, I’m thinking about going home,” she said. “I already had delays in Norwich for 40 minutes.

“I can’t go back to work because it will be lunch time by the time I get there.”

Jennifer Knight, 32, works in London as a designer and is a regular commuter from Ipswich.

She said: “I’m always late for work and always late home.

“You could probably write a book about the different excuses they [Greater Anglia and Network Rail] use.

“It’s not the money it’s the time because I’m missing time with my family and that’s what gets me the most.”

Great Anglia confirmed that tickets restrictions for today have been lifted and tickets for today will be accepted for tomorrow. They are also encouraging passengers to claim compensation for the delays.

A Greater Anglia spokesperson said: “We would like to apologise to customers for disruption caused by a broken down freight train near Manningtree, which blocked the line between Ipswich and Colchester. A rail replacement service was put in until the line reopened. Knock-on delays of up to 30 minutes are expected until 2pm.

“We urge any passengers affected by delays of 30 mintues or more to claim for delay repay compensation by picking up a form from a staffed station or going online at www.greateranglia.co.uk.”

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