Free travel plea after fans stranded

RAIL bosses are being asked to give passengers a day of free travel as a gesture of goodwill after football fans were left stranded when a soccer special failed to arrive.

RAIL bosses are being asked to give passengers a day of free travel as a gesture of goodwill after football fans were left stranded when a soccer special failed to arrive.

It is the third time in a year that a special extra train put on the Felixstowe-Ipswich line for an event had been cancelled.

As reported in later editions of Tuesday's Evening Star, more than 100 fans were left frustrated and disappointed when a promised extra train to take them to the big Ipswich and Norwich derby game was stopped in its tracks by maintenance on the line.

Officials at the One railway company have apologised to those who lost out, but have now been asked by Felixstowe East Suffolk Travellers' Association to make travel free for the next home match day - against Burnley on December 2.

Bryan Frost, of ESTA said: “I would be a bit more sympathetic if this was the first time it had happened in years, but this is a hard pill to swallow because it is the third time in 12 months.

“I am not going into whose fault it was, but I think the people at One and Network Rail should talk to each other a bit more.

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“It seems ridiculous that this should happen and then be told there was no bus as a replacement.

“Many of the people who would have used that train were probably not regular rail users and this has given them a very bad impression of rail services at a time when we are trying to increase the use of green transport.”

He said ESTA has written to the managing director of One to tell them of their disappointment and to ask if the company would consider making December 2 a free day of travel on the line as a goodwill gesture.

Mr Frost added: “That is another day when Ipswich is playing at home and hopefully football fans, as well as other people, would be encouraged to use the services.”

One has said Network Rail had not advised the company it was doing maintenance work on the track and a meeting is to take place between the two firms to ensure such problems do not happen again.

WEBLINK: www.onerailway.com

Were you trying to catch the football special? What do you think of the service - would you make use of a free travel day? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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