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Network Rail boss says he will “take every step” to avoid long delays as he confirms planned Ipswich engineering work will go ahead

09:28 30 August 2014

A Greater Anglia train at Norwich on the main line service to London Liverpool Street.

A Greater Anglia train at Norwich on the main line service to London Liverpool Street.

Archant © 2012

Network Rail has pledged to “take every step” to avoid a repeat of the long delays and cancellations which hit rail commuters this week as it confirmed it would go ahead with planned engineering work in Ipswich this weekend,

Network Rail’s regional boss has pledged to “take every step” to avoid a repeat of the long delays and cancellations which hit rail commuters this week, as he confirmed planned engineering work in Ipswich will go ahead this weekend,

Bosses have spent days weighing up whether or not to proceed with Sunday’s proposed railway closure in Suffolk after travellers from Norfolk to London were hit by major hold-ups on Tuesday morning.

Network Rail area director Andy Boyle said this week that he would only allow the work to go ahead if he was certain that it would be completed on schedule.

Norwich to London mainline services will be affected by the work which is taking place in the Ipswich area from the start of service on Sunday until 3.30pm.

Ipswich to Lowestoft and Felixstowe services are affected by the work all day on Sunday.

On Tuesday the line re-opened seven-and-half hours late after engineers struggled to connect new signals to existing signalling equipment in the station area.

Steve Cassidy, Network Rail area director, said: “Passengers suffered as a result of our mistake and I’d like to again apologise to all those affected by Tuesday’s engineering overrun. We will take every step to avoid a repeat of what happened this week.”

“This is a vital £25m project to deliver a better, more reliable train service in this part of the country and forms part of our wider £2.2bn investment to improve the railway in the east of England over the coming years to benefit thousands of passengers.”

Following the delays, an East Anglian MP has said Network Rail directors should get no bonuses next year after this summer’s chaos on East Anglia’s main rail line.

In a statement Network Rail said a “thorough review” of the cause of Tuesday’s disruption had uncovered faults with the design of the new signalling system being installed at Ipswich.

It said: “Following a series of high level meetings between Network Rail and Abellio Greater Anglia, both parties have agreed that the work should proceed after a new team was brought in to oversee the work on the ground.”

An Abellio Greater Anglia spokesperson said: “Following a further thorough review of the planned engineering works proposed to take place in the Ipswich area this Sunday, agreement has been reached for Network Rail to proceed with the work which will be overseen by a new team. The progress of the works will be closely monitored throughout and Network Rail has given assurances that every step will be taken to avoid any overrun of the work.

Rail passengers can obtain details of the service alterations while the work takes place, from stations and the Abellio Greater Anglia and National Rail websites.”

Have you spotted any problems on the rail line? Email newsdesk@archant.co.uk

11 comments

  • If this man is "taking steps : they need to be bl.....dy great big ones to sort out the awful mess. Perhaps giving back some of the 4 billion of taxpayers subsidy money would be a first " step".

    Report this comment

    stormy

    Sunday, August 31, 2014

  • @Lucioperca @Citizen of EUSSR - absolutely, i'm sure if you conducted a survey of regular users of Abysmallio "services", most would happily go back to a nationalised service with a single, not-for-profit operator & maintenance provider. British Rail was inefficient, that was a reflection of the times & times have changed a lot. The current system is significantly less efficient, based on cost for level of service, it is fundamentally broken & not remotely fit for purpose - fares have rocketed to extortionate levels, it is hugely unreliable (with associated costs, compensation for delays & how much do they spend on taxis ?), rolling stock is old & hasn't been updated, passengers have no choice, there are too many service providers, contractors & sub-contractors all taking a nice profit from the system & there is very very little accountability. A single, nationalised, not-for-profit, operator & maintenance provider would solve of lot of these problems, it would cut a lot of links out of the contractor chain (all taking their profit out) & reduce a lot of the cost & complexity, the company running the trains would also be responsible for maintenance, so would have a big incentive to ensure work is completed on time, if it wasn't passengers know exactly who to complain to, without them passing the buck to network rail & one of their many, really useful "area directors".

    Report this comment

    DocScott

    Saturday, August 30, 2014

  • The statement that they are putting a new team on it makes no sense as they said it was a design fault. Why an earth would you put a new team on trying to roll out equipment with a design fault? They need to call a halt to the program until the design fault is rectified and the fix properly tested. They should never have got to the implementation stage with a design fault in the equipment. It tends to point to poor and inadequate testing Most of these problems point to poor and ineffective management

    Report this comment

    BobE

    Saturday, August 30, 2014

  • Given the normal failures and incompetence with these works I would not hold my breath that they will complete them on time. These lines are a total shambles with delays and cancelations being the norm

    Report this comment

    BobE

    Saturday, August 30, 2014

  • @Citizen & DocScott: My uncle was an engineer under British Rail in the late 70s and early 80s. He reckons the unions had a huge part to play in the demise of the service. Demarcation (one man one job) made track maintenance too costly and too time consuming. Lots of people being paid double and treble time to stand around at weekends and bank holidays all waiting for each other to do their little bit. Nationalisation would work if it was reinstated today because multi-skilling has reduced the amount of manpower you need.

    Report this comment

    Lucioperca

    Saturday, August 30, 2014

  • Seems from that article there are a lot of "area directors" , perhaps this is simply a case of too many chiefs and not enough Indians.. or maybe the left hand not knowing what the right is doing?? or just maybe too many cooks.......

    Report this comment

    canuk

    Friday, August 29, 2014

  • @DocScott - there used to be a single, state owned, operator & track maintenance provider running the rail system. The trouble is, British Rail was an even bigger joke than the current setup!

    Report this comment

    Citizen of EUSSR

    Friday, August 29, 2014

  • How many years, or probably even decades now, have they been using the "...needed to deliver a better, more reliable train service." line for ? It's a shame this better, more reliable train service never actually materialises, despite the extortionate ticket cost & constant price increases. And @expat if you pay thousands a year for the shambles of a service provided by Abysmallio *Greater* Anglia, then you have every right to whinge, whether it's directly their fault on not, it's their job to run the trains. There should be a single, state owned, operator & track maintenance provider to make the rail system far cheaper to operate and provide some accountability.

    Report this comment

    DocScott

    Friday, August 29, 2014

  • Gosh there has been a lot of whinging about the trains this week

    Report this comment

    expat

    Friday, August 29, 2014

  • Shame we can't have a different Train Operator as well. Shabellyup delighted us with signal problems causing delays this morning and a broken down freight train causing delays this evening. OK neither their direct fault but the usual scattergun approach to accurate information and passenger assistance.

    Report this comment

    Disbeliever

    Friday, August 29, 2014

  • Strange statement ... if it was down to faulty equipment why do they need a new team? Or was the real issue that the team on the ground didn't handle the equipment issues well? It really does smack of a lack on senior management presence on the ground to make the difficult call when delays approached a critical tipping point.

    Report this comment

    Lucioperca

    Friday, August 29, 2014

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

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