St Jude storm causes travel chaos for Norwich rail passengers

l-r Karen Moorhouse, Mille Montgomery, Lucy Montgomery

l-r Karen Moorhouse, Mille Montgomery, Lucy Montgomery - Credit: Dominic Bareham

The high winds have caused disruption for hundreds of rail passengers left stranded at Norwich station, with many looking to get away for the half term holiday.

Rachel Everson (left) and Katharine Anderton

Rachel Everson (left) and Katharine Anderton - Credit: Dominic Bareham

Greater Anglia services from Norwich were suspended this morning and passengers are now being advised not to travel for the rest of the day after damage to overhead wires and fallen trees and branches forced the rail operator to stop running services.

l-r Thomas Dack, Charlotte, Lisa Dack (back) and Katie

l-r Thomas Dack, Charlotte, Lisa Dack (back) and Katie - Credit: Dominic Bareham

Student Jake Shephard, 20, from Newark, needed to get to London for lectures at the University of Westminster and was due to catch the 8am train, but said the delays would make him late for lectures.

Janet and Paul Nelson

Janet and Paul Nelson - Credit: Dominic Bareham

He had been to visit his family in Newark and was travelling back to university, adding: 'I can't get anyone to drive me there so I will just have to catch up with the missed lectures.'

Lisa and Thomas Dack, 41 and 45 respectively, were visiting London with their children Charlotte, 13 and Katie, 10 for a four day stay and had booked into the Tower Bridge apartments.

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The Norwich family had planned to catch the 9.30am train in time to get to London to visit the London Eye today at the start of their sightseeing trip, but said the Eye visit could have to be cancelled due to the delays caused by the St Jude story.

Mrs Dack said: 'We are going to wait for a little bit and give it until noon and see, then we may go home and do something else in Norwich if the situation hasn't changed. To be fair, there aren't alternative arrangements we can make.

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'It is a bit irritating, but we have just got to make the best of it now. The staff here have been doing good. They have been chatting to us.'

Rachel Everson, 44 and her partner Katharine Anderton, 46, from Norwich, were travelling to Manchester for Norwich City's Capital One cup tie against Manchester United at Old Trafford tomorrow.

They are staying at a Premier Inn in the city and had decided to go early to see some of the sights before heading off to see the game.

However, their 6.52am service was cancelled, leaving the couple in limbo with a hotel booked for £90 a night that could not be cancelled or refunded.

Ms Everson said: 'Hopefully, we will get there today, but we don't want to go home and come back again because the situation's constantly changing, but now there is a tree on the line so it could be an hour or five hours.'

Businessman Clive Hay-Smith, 56, from Weybourne, had planned to catch the 8.30am service to London to meet two people who were flying in from Sweden and Germany and had already arrived in the country, while he was still waiting at Norwich at approximately 10.30am, making him late for his meeting.

Mr Hay-Smith, who runs a publishing company, said: 'It is more than irritating, it is very embarrasing, but they are quite used to Britain's third world transport.'

Canon Paul Nelson and his wife Janet were travelling to Lancaster to visit his grandson but the Beccles couple were also delayed, making them late to arrive at the Penny Bridge Hotel in Lancaster, where they were staying.

He said: 'If we leave about midday it takes about six hours to get up there, but if we leave any later than that it could be midnight before we arrive at the hotel. We are just going to wait until we have a bit more information.'

Karen Moorhouse, 49 and her children Lucy and Millie Montgomery, 16 and 20 respectively, were due to visit relatives in Huddersfield.

Millie said the delay meant they could be late catching their three connecting trains to the Yorkshire town.

She added: 'We have got to wait an hour and a half now for the next train but probably we will have to wait for the connections, so it is going to be a pretty horrendous journey. It takes five hours when the trains are normal, but it is likely to be eight hours.'

Eric and Jean Gardner, from Dereham, were travelling to St Austell in Cornwall for a four day stay to visit friends, but said they feared losing the £150 they had spent on the hotel.

They said they could drive down, but this would take too long and would be too tiring.

Mr Gardner said: 'If we don't make it, we could lose the hotel money.'

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