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Delays hit commuters

PUBLISHED: 07:43 25 June 2003 | UPDATED: 14:02 03 March 2010

HOURS of delays hit commuters from Suffolk as travellers suffered a day of depression on the trains.

Services between the region and London ground to a halt on the crippled tracks yesterday after a train tore down overhead power lines in the Seven Kings area.

HOURS of delays hit commuters from Suffolk as travellers suffered a day of depression on the trains.

Services between the region and London ground to a halt on the crippled tracks yesterday after a train tore down overhead power lines in the Seven Kings area.

The chaos completed a week of misery for commuters, who have seen inflation-busting season ticket price rises and been warned of months of delays when a tunnel is closed for works next summer.

Figures released last week already showed one in four commuter trains serving the region were running late.

The latest problems began at 2.45pm yesterday when a train ran into problems coming out of the Ilford depot, tearing down four power cables.

Rail engineers began assessing the damage while passengers were left stranded on the platform with no trains coming in or out of London.

Services between the capital and Norwich were delayed by more than 90 minutes and train companies switched to an emergency timetable to deal with the backlog of commuters at Liverpool Street. Delays continued throughout the evening.

Some passengers travelling to Ipswich from London were diverted to Cambridge with journey times extending to more than four hours.

Peter Meades, of Anglia Railways, said two of the four lines running through Seven Kings reopened at 5pm.

During the busiest period, Anglia Railways and First Great Eastern switched to an emergency timetable with First Great Eastern running as many trains as possible between London and Colchester, where the passengers changed to Anglia Railways for the journey through to Norwich.

"We would like to apologise to all of the customers who suffered delays. It's very frustrating and our sympathies are with those left waiting," Mr Meades added.

But train passengers spoke of their fury after their journeys were delayed by more than three hours due to problems with overhead power lines.

Bank worker Peter Mitchell, from Ipswich, said: "I used to commute every day and I only do it on average about twice a week now, but it hasn't got any better in the years I used to do it every day.

"The Government is asking for more and more money from the tax payer and I cannot see any improvement. It has not been a good day."

Nicola Knights, from Ipswich, was travelling home from Gatwick on the service with her family after enjoying a holiday in Majorca.

She said: "It took two hours to fly from Majorca to England and it's taken longer to get just from London to Ipswich.

"We had to be up early to get the flight and everything was ok until we got the train. It's when you have young children that it becomes difficult. The air conditioning was broken in one of the carriages, it was horrible."

Geoffrey Adam, from Ipswich, said his journey had been delayed by more than three hours.

"The same thing happened last Thursday and it really grates. With prices going up as well, it doesn't go down very well."

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