Ipswich MP Tom Hunt demands rail meeting as train problems continue
PUBLISHED: 07:00 31 December 2019
New Ipswich MP Tom Hunt has demanded a meeting with bosses from Greater Anglia and Network Rail to discuss train problems that have left travellers from the town fuming.
His intervention comes after another testing day for travellers who saw trains cancelled - and then reinstated - because of problems with the speedometers on one of the new regional trains.
Mr Hunt is particularly angered by the cancellation of the cross-country service from Ipswich to Peterborough which are not expected to get back to normal until some time in January.
But he said that travellers had found problems on many different services across the region and it was time that the two organisations sorted things out. He was also hoping to get someone from the Department for Transport to the meeting.
Mr Hunt said: "I have been very frustrated about the rail services over the last few weeks. Greater Anglia has a franchise commitment to run an hourly service but at present they are incapable of even running a two-hourly service.
"But I want it to be a joint meeting with Network Rail and ideally someone from the DfT. My concern is that if it is with only one organisation, they will spend all their time blaming the others. I want them to take responsibility and get on with sorting things out. This is not good enough."
A spokeswoman for Greater Anglia said work had been continuing throughout Christmas to ensure the reintroduction of cross-country services.
She said: "We sincerely apologise to customers affected by disruption on our two-hourly Ipswich-Peterborough service. The disruption is a continued knock-on effect of signalling problems on our regional routes earlier this month.
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"We are currently in the process of replacing every train in our fleet with brand new trains. As part of this process, we need to test new trains and train all of our drivers to be able to drive them. This programme was set back due to recent signalling problems on our regional routes.
"We have now resumed our driver training and new train testing programme and have been carrying out training and testing over the Christmas period, and we aim to reinstate the full service as quickly as possible."
The new trains are still not cleared to run on the Peterborough route.
Travellers on regional trains face more issues on Greater Anglia routes
Passengers on two of the busiest regional lines in the region suffered major problems on Monday.
The problems were not confined to the Ipswich to Peterborough route where most trains were cancelled, forcing passengers to travel via Norwich or Cambridge.
Trains on the East Suffolk line from Ipswich to Lowestoft were thrown into chaos after a speedometer failed during an early-morning journey.
Passengers at Lowestoft were initially told they should travel via Norwich, then they were advised to catch a later train - two services were cancelled altogether.
A further two services in the middle of the day were cancelled - but then engineers found there was no problem with the speedometers and they merely needed resetting. The later trains were reinstated.
Meanwhile Greater Anglia was able to run a late train from Ipswich to Peterborough and back - formed of an older diesel - the first train over that route for several days.