Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 9°C

Search

East Anglia: Task force out to improve rail reliability

09:36 22 July 2014

An Abellio Greater Anglia train at Colchester

An Abellio Greater Anglia train at Colchester

Archant

A special team of track and signalling engineers has been brought in to try to solve growing reliability problems at Liverpool Street Station.

Over recent months there have been an increasing number of delays to trains on their way in and out of one of the busiest stations in the country.

Now Network Rail has brought in an expert team of track and signalling engineers to try to come up with a solution to the problem.

They will try to find a remedy to a succession of “glitches” that have led to regular delays of 10-15 minutes for passengers heading in and out of the capital.

Last Friday there were major problems after a flash flood damaged equipment and closed four platforms at the terminus.

A spokeswoman for Network Rail said a team of specialists was now based at Liverpool Street to try to resolve the signalling problems and react quickly when something goes wrong.

Liverpool Street Station, the London terminus for the Norwich main line through the region, has 18 platforms but only six tracks going in and out of the station, which Network Rail officials describe as a “pinch point” for trains.

The track and signalling are up to 30 years old – they were installed during the station’s rebuilding during the 1980s – although the electric wires were updated more recently.

The whole station is due to see major changes over the next five years with Metro changes being transferred to the Crossrail operation in 2017 and from December 2018 they will be diverted away from the existing station to the new tunnel under the capital linking the lines to the east with the Great Western route to Reading and Heathrow airport.

The Liverpool Street-based team is looking at short-term solutions to make services more reliable.

A Network Rail spokeswoman said: “London Liverpool Street is an extremely busy station and as a result any failures, whether it is track or signal, this can cause significant disruption for passenger services.

“We realise passengers have experienced delays to their journeys and recognise the delays are frustrating. We are creating a project team to focus entirely on this issue.”

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer said he remained concerned about the number of incidents, although he had been impressed by the recent level of co-operation between Network Rail and Abellio Greater Anglia. He said: “There have been ongoing problems there for a long time, and I won’t really believe things are getting better until I see it.

“On Friday there was nothing they could do about a lightning strike, but there should be more resilience to prevent water getting into signalling cables.

“Having said that I am impressed by the way (Abellio Greater Anglia managing director) Jamie Burles is pushing them to make sure things do improve for his company’s passengers.”

His view was endorsed by Derek Monnery of the Essex Rail Users’ Federation. He said: “Jamie Burles has been very proactive and I don’t think it is a coincidence this team has come in not long after he took over as managing director at Abellio.

“I think things will improve, but it could take a time. There are many changes due to come in over the next few years but I hope the reliability will improve over the next six months.”

An Abellio Greater Anglia spokesman said: “We’re continuing to work in close partnership with Network Rail, focusing on delivering further improvements to train service performance and to meet our customers and stakeholders’ expectations to provide consistent levels of punctuality.”

Last week questions were asked about the decision to award Network Rail bosses huge bonuses just days after the company was fined £53million for poor punctuality.

Bonuses worth thousands of pounds a year are being lined up for top bosses, but Mr Monnery said the funds should instead be spent on upgrading the region’s poor infrastructure, which often caused severe travel disruption.

2 comments

  • "A Task Force" ?, sounds very much to me like 'fire fighting' !, Re Nationalisation is the 'only' solution !, leave it to Labour to sort out this tory and liedem mess !

    Report this comment

    freedomf

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014

  • More PR spin! In recent weeks things have hit new lowswith something wrong literally every day. Plus this is Summer, supposedly the best time for reliability. On this showing I relish the approaching winter. Everybody understands things can and do go wrong, its how the aftermath is handled thats important. Yesterday at Ipswich, things changed by the minute, trains "due in 2 minutes" suddenly disappeared and connections left even when a late service was pulling in. Colleague said same happened in Norwich. Sheer panic and ineptitude sets in. I saw in the FT a few weeks ago that Dutch Railways have been heavily penalised by the Dutch Government for an appalling service in Holland, so one has to ask why are they being allowed to run our trains??

    Report this comment

    Disbeliever

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014

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

A silhouette shot of 'Sarah', who has spoken about her experience with domestic abuse. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

A domestic violence survivor from Suffolk has told how family and friends intervened to help her flee a 13-year abusive relationship that left her “completely beaten”.

Crowds of commuters wait at Liverpool Street station

A points failure at London Liverpool Street is delaying rail passengers heading towards Ipswich by more than 30 minutes.

Buttermarket Ipswich.

Ipswich has been hailed as a great place to do business after the Buttermarket Centre was sold in a multi-million pound deal even before the final pieces are put into the redevelopment jigsaw.

Jeremy Head, who took his own life at mental health unit Wedgwood House, in Bury St Edmunds, in 2014. Picture: Ashtons Legal

The sister of a 49-year-old man who was found hanged at a mental health unit in Suffolk has said she begged for help in the weeks leading up to his death.

Broke Hall Community Primary School, Ipswich, had a Tractors in School visit - farmer John Taylor with Kara Bassil. Picture: NIGEL BROWN

Hundreds of youngsters will get close-up to one of the most impressive and hi-tech working vehicles this week – as they take part in a growing education programme.

Lauren Sherwood and Jaimin Patel (centre, arms linked) at Glemhall Hall where they met with suppliers of the St Elizabeth Hospice win a wedding competition. Picture: Echo Alfa

A Colchester couple who won St Elizabeth Hospice’s wedding giveaway last year have pledged their commitment to raising thousands of pounds for the cause in return for their special day at Glemham Hall.

President Vladimir Putin Dmitry Astakhov/ Sputnik, Government Press Service Pool photo via AP

Russian president Vladamir Putin should be offered a state visit, a Suffolk MP has said.

Suffolk Constabulary's headquarters in Martlesham Heath, where the 999 control room is based.   Picture: SU ANDERSON

Police in Suffolk have vowed to investigate why the force has the worst rate of abandoned 999 calls in the country.

Ipswich Town's Daryl Murphy challenges for the ball in last summer's match against Norwich City.  Picture: Steve Waller

It is one of the most hotly anticipated games of the season for football fans in Suffolk and Norfolk.

Glasses of fizz

Is a new style of bubbly about to take the supermarket aisles by storm with its mix of two favourite tipples?

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24