Weekend of travel chaos

People travelling between Norwich, Yarmouth and Lowestoft faced major headaches this weekend, with road works, rail closures and diversions marring all major routes.

People travelling between Norwich, Yarmouth and Lowestoft faced major headaches this weekend, with road works, rail closures and diversions marring all major routes.

On Saturday Network Rail began work on a £4.5m project to improve the Norwich to Yarmouth and Lowestoft rail lines, closing both tracks until November 5.

In the meantime passengers are being offered replacement bus services by rail operator One.

But despite One laying on direct busses between Norwich and Yarmouth and Norwich and Lowestoft to speed up the already longer journey times, travellers faced further delays caused by trouble on the roads.

On Saturday busses travelling between Norwich and Lowestoft, which One had expected to take an hour - 20 minutes longer than the train journey - were delayed after the A146 was closed following an accident.

Police officers spent over 10 hours examining the scene, leaving the road's heavy traffic to crawl slowly through Loddon.

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Meanwhile, in Yarmouth the work also coincide with the resurfacing of the A47 Acle Straight, which is currently closing the road every night between 8pm and 6am.

Last night One customer services said they did not know which route the replacement bus service between Norwich and Yarmouth took while the road was closed, only that the journey still took 45 minutes.

The work has also left many travellers who use the intermediate stops such as Cantley and Reedham see their journey times triple and the number of services they are offered fall.

Over the next two weeks Network Rail will be replacing large sections of the existing track with continuous welded track, securing the future of the lines for another 40 years.

The new track, which has no welded joints, also signals and end of the familiar clackety clack sound the train makes, giving travellers a quieter journey.

Work began on the first section through Brundall Gardens station after the last train in the early hours of Saturday morning. Over the coming days the existing track and sleepers will be removed, and new ballast, sleepers and tracks laid.

Last night a spokesman for Network Rail said: “The work started on time and there have been no problems so far.”

One spokesman, Peter Meades said unforeseen problems on the roads had affected the bus services but generally they were running on time.

He said: “Everything seems to be running OK so far. We had a few difficulties with the buses yesterday because the A146 was closed off so the busses were going through Loddon which was very slow.

“But on the whole passengers have been good about it, they recognise that the work needs to be done.”

A full timetable of the replacement bus services can be found online at www.onerailway.com. Bus times can also be obtained by calling national rail enquiries on 08457 48 49 50. One customer services can be contacted on 0845 600 7245.