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Ipswich: Rail problems ease after hard week on tracks

PUBLISHED: 06:00 20 June 2014

Ancaster Road Bridge was not damaged by the accident.

Ancaster Road Bridge was not damaged by the accident.

Archant

Rail travellers faced yet more problems yesterday after a lorry hit a low bridge near Ipswich station at the height of the rush hour.

The accident at the Ancaster Road bridge led to the suspension of all rail services for about 45 minutes from 8.15am as engineers from Network Rail checked that the structure of the bridge, which carries several tracks and part of platforms one and two at the station.

No damage was found and trains started running again about 9am – but there were further knock-on delays during the morning.

The road underneath the bridge – linking the Chantry estate and Belstead Hills area to the town centre – remained open throughout and there was no sign of damage to the

There was a further relatively minor problem at lunchtime as a temporary speed restriction had to be imposed near Manningtree while Network Rail cleared vegetation that was threatening to touch overhead cables.

But yesterday’s problems did not cause disruption on the same scale as those on Tuesday evening which saw travellers delayed by up to six hours after overhead wire damage left the main line blocked near Chelmsford.

Travellers had also faced problems on Wednesday with a signalling fault near Liverpool Street and there had been two fatalities on Essex branch lines which caused problems for people travelling towards Clacton and Southminster.

Officials from Abellio Greater Anglia and Network Rail are still looking at the causes of Tuesday’s problem – and the rail company is looking at how it dealt with frustrated travellers.

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer, who is a member of the taskforce looking at ways of improving rail services in the region, said it was difficult to see how the industry could prevent problems like bridge strikes and people being hit by trains – although the disruption caused by people committing suicide on rail tracks had reduced over recent years.

He did, however, hope that Network Rail would maintain close scrutiny of its work.

He said: “In the past there have been incidents where repair or upgrade work has failed soon afterwards. I don’t know if that was the case this time but there certainly needs to be a close look at how this work may affect things in the future.”

A spokeswoman for Network Rail said there had been no work on the section of track affected by Tuesday’s problems in the immediate run-up to Tuesday afternoon’s incident.

Passengers – especially commuters who rely on the train every day – however are expected to give a huge sigh of relief at the end of the working week today.

And then they will hope that next week’s services prove far more reliable.

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