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Commuters frustrated by more problems on East Suffolk's rural trains

PUBLISHED: 19:00 13 January 2020

East Suffolk line trains from Lowestoft to Ipswich were cancelled again. Picture: PAUL GEATER

East Suffolk line trains from Lowestoft to Ipswich were cancelled again. Picture: PAUL GEATER

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Frustrated commuters on Greater Anglia's East Suffolk Line trains to and from Ipswich are losing faith with the company's ability to get them to work on time.

On Monday three peak-hour trains, due to arrive at Ipswich at 7.44am, 8.09am and 8.38am were cancelled after a train break down trapped other trains in Greater Anglia's Crown Point depot in Norwich.

That meant there were no trains arriving in Ipswich from Lowestoft between 6.53am and 10.36am - leaving passengers from stations including Woodbridge, Wickham Market, Saxmundham, Halesworth and Beccles unable to get to work on time.

One passenger who travels to his Ipswich office from Brampton, between Halesworth and Beccles, several times a week said: "It is happening so much, you just cannot rely on the trains any more.

"I moved here in the summer because there was a direct train journey and for the first few months it was fine. I could do a bit of work on the train and you could rely on the service."

The problems started in the autumn as Greater Anglia started introducing its new trains: "I know several other people who travel from Beccles and Halesworth to Ipswich for work and the numbers were growing. But none of us can rely on the service any more."

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He moved to Brampton because he was able to work from home on some days - but has found that he is having to do that more and more because of the unreliable rail service.

"I cannot plan my week and meetings I need to attend because I can't be sure when the trains will run," he said.

A spokeswoman for Greater Anglia said Monday's problems were solved once a fitter had corrected the problem with the train in Norwich.

The company was very sorry about the problems faced by travellers on rural lines over recent weeks, and was working hard to ensure the reliability of its trains.

She said: "We continue to work to further improve the performance of the new trains as we phase them in across our network.

"Although they have not been the root cause of the major disruption on the branch lines in Norfolk and Suffolk during December, there have been some teething issues with software, which we are working to address, as well as seeking to catch up on the testing, training and commissioning that was delayed as a result of the investigations into the signalling issues, when it was right to take precautionary measures to ensure safe operation of the services.

"We are confident that as we overcome these temporary issues, customers will notice an improvement in punctuality and reliability, building on the many improvements the new trains offer in terms of service quality - including extra seats, a more comfortable on-train environment, plug and USB points, faster wi-fi and better accessibility."

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