Travellers left frustrated by train line suspended 30 times in less than a year

PUBLISHED: 11:30 29 October 2019

Trains between Ipswich and Felixstowe have been suspended 30 times this year Picture: PETER WILES/ CITIZENSIDE

Trains between Ipswich and Felixstowe have been suspended 30 times this year Picture: PETER WILES/ CITIZENSIDE

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A Suffolk train line has been suspended 30 times this year by train faults, leaving users frustrated.

The Ipswich to Felixstowe line, run by Greater Anglia, has been suspended 23 times since January this year because of train faults.

The faults are rarely caused by the train used on the line, but the unit is often required to replace faulty trains elsewhere. When the line is suspended Greater Anglia is forced to obtain buses to replace the trains.

The short road distance between Ipswich and Felixstowe means it is easier to put in replacement buses to serve these stations. "We can understand why Felixstowe gets hardest," said Richard Holland from Felixstowe Travel Watch.

"It makes sense but it is still very frustrating. The service lately has been very bad.

"They spend £60 million pounds on track and signalling work that has made a real improvement and we have these lovely brand new trains coming.

"At the time of all this good news we are having bad service."

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As well as train faults the line has also closed on seven other occasions this year due to a range of reasons including signalling issues.

Mr Holland said that he had experienced some of the problems himself.

"I was invited to a Greater Anglia event only a few days ago in Ipswich and the train I was catching was cancelled and replaced by a bus.

"There were people who were going on to London who were desperately worried because of their connections. A member of the public gave some of them a lift into Ipswich."

A spokesman for Greater Anglia said: "We apologise to passengers who have been affected by cancellations on the Ipswich to Felixstowe line. We know how important it is to our customers that our trains run on time and our award-winning engineers do all they can to keep our trains running.

"Whenever we are unable to run trains. We always arrange a rail replacement bus service, so customers can complete their journeys.

"We have line of route technicians based across out network, who can fix some faults soon after they have been reported so trains can go back into service quickly.

"Unfortunately, incidents such as a train hitting an animal or an object can cause significant damage to trains which means that they are out of service due to a "fault" until repairs are completed. Sometimes it can take several weeks to repair a train which has been badly damaged.

"We are in the process of introducing a brand-new fleet of trains across out network, as part of a £1.4 billion investment programme, which will help further improve train performance and reliability."

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