Passengers: ‘We feared for safety on Greater Anglia rail replacement’

Marcus Ball has made a complaint to Abellio about an incident on a replacement bus service. Picture:

Marcus Ball has made a complaint to Abellio about an incident on a replacement bus service. Picture: Matthew Usher.

More than 40 people are to get an apology and compensation from Abellio Greater Anglia after a nightmare coach journey.

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- Credit: Archant

Passengers said they feared for their safety as they travelled aboard a rail replacement service from Ipswich to Norwich.

Now Abellio has pledged to contact the passengers with compensation 'over and above' the standard rate.

Despite warning alarms going off and smoke coming from the vehicle, the travellers were initially told everything was fine.

But it was only when an engineer was called in that the driver became aware of the seriousness of the coach's condition.

In a letter of complaint to Abellio, passenger Marcus Ball said: 'We paid money for a service to take us safely from one place to another, on time.

'This service was not safe, it was not on time and it didn't take us from one place to another, it took us to the wrong place first.'

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Passengers had initially been travelling aboard an Abellio train service from London Liverpool Street to Norwich last Sunday evening.

But at Ipswich they were required to take a First Group coach for the remainder of the trip.

Mr Ball, 26, of Unthank Road Norwich, said the problems started just 15 minutes into the journey when a warning alarm sounded.

He said: 'In time we pulled over on to the hard shoulder of the motorway. I asked the driver what was wrong and he said there wasn't a risk and that it was safe to travel onward.'

Despite the driver continuing the journey, Mr Ball,decided to phone an engineer for advice.

He said: 'The engineer told us it was completely unsafe to drive the vehicle and he passionately asked me to stop the driver from continuing.'

As the passengers disembarked they realised they were not travelling on the A140 to Norwich, but along the A14 to Bury St Edmunds.

And to add to their misery, they then had to wait two hours for another replacement bus.

Forty-four passengers signed Mr Ball's letter to request a full apology and compensation from Abellio.

A spokesman for the company said: 'We apologise to those passengers for the delay to their journey on Sunday evening.

'We will be contacting those passengers who were on the rail replacement bus service and to arrange compensation payment, for the delay and inconvenience caused, over and above the entitlement of our normal delay repay scheme.

'We are investigating the circumstances of the delay with the provider of our rail replacement service.'

First Group did not respond to a request for a comment.

Have you experienced an unpleasant journey on public transport? Call Luke Powell on 01603 772684.

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