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Passengers packed ‘worse than cattle’ as rail disruption continues through Essex despite lines re-opening

PUBLISHED: 10:46 18 December 2017 | UPDATED: 18:31 18 December 2017

Part of a pantograph broke off and hit a train this morning. Picture: GREATER ANGLIA

Part of a pantograph broke off and hit a train this morning. Picture: GREATER ANGLIA

Archant

Major disruption has been caused to rail services after part of a metal structure which connects to the overhead wires broke off and hit a train at Hatfield Peverel.

Greater Anglia said the part of a pantograph, which is mounted on the roof of carriages to connect with overhead wires, broke off and hit the side of a train this morning.

The rail company advised customers to postpone their journey.

The incident is causing major disruption with delays and cancellations expected to continue until 6pm.

Lines re-opened at 4.15pm, but disruption continued as trains and staff were left in the wrong locations due to the incident.

A limited rail replacement bus service ran, and First Essex bus routes between Colchester, Witham, Braintree and Chelmsford accepted rail tickets.

Derek Monnery, chairman of the Essex Rail Users’ Federation (ERUF), had his journey time extended by one hour into London and two on his journey home to Mistley as a result of the incident.

“The trains on the way home were dangerously overcrowded, absolutely rammed with people. Cattle would not be allowed to travel in those conditions.

“I don’t think it was handled particularly well,” he said.

“Despite incidents like this the politicians want to put fares up 3.5% – they are so totally removed from reality, they don’t appreciate just how busy the rail service is.”

John Smock, ERUF treasurer, added: “This is a serious issue, and this should not happen.

“We’ll have to wait and see what caused the fault, whether it was a problem with the overhead wire or the train, so the jury’s out on that one.

“But it is concerning that this happened on the busiest two-track line in Europe – is the line up to the heavy workload?

“The only thing being funded by government is replacement and repair, but we need to build infrastructure to increase capacity and provide alternatives if things go wrong.”

A Greater Anglia spokesperson said: “We apologise to customers for inconvenience caused. Anyone affected by delays may be able to claim delay repay at www.greateranglia.co.uk/about-us/our-performance/delay-repay.”

For more information on delays and cancellations, visit www.greateranglia.co.uk

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