Investigation into train chaos

AS RAIL services between East Anglia and London returned to normal today, engineers were continuing to study the cause of this week's chaos at Ingatestone.

AS RAIL services between East Anglia and London returned to normal today, engineers were continuing to study the cause of this week's chaos at Ingatestone.

Passengers faced 24 hours of delays and cancellations after a substantial length of overhead wire at Ingatestone in Essex was brought down by a train on Thursday afternoon.

Network Rail bosses accepted that the condition of the overhead wires, which date from the mid-1950s, was the main focus of their investigation into the incident.

However, while the cause of the problem was still under investigation, officials from rail operator 'one' felt they had learned lessons after the chaos on the same stretch of line at the end of last summer.


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The overhead lines from Liverpool Street to Chelmsford were installed to power commuter trains.

The wiring system - known as catenary - have been repaired and updated since then, but it is still in place even though InterCity trains travel much faster than the commuter services it was originally designed for.

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The wires are due to be replaced during the next five years as part of a £50million upgrade of the line to coincide with the 2012 Olympics.

While the problems on the line caused delays, passengers said these were not as bad as those at the end of last summer, and added that 'one' had tried to keep them informed about what was happening.

Peter Meades from 'one' said: “We worked closely with Network Rail who had engineers on the scene of the wires coming down very quickly. They were able to get a train to survey the area there within half an hour and we could start running on the other line then.

“We shall be looking at how we responded to the problem as well as the cause of the incident itself but we hope our passengers did feel they were kept informed.”

Guy Dangerfield from the official watchdog Passenger Focus, said ideally the 50-year-old wiring would have been replaced earlier, but welcomed news that Network Rail is to replace it over the next five years.

He said: “That is very good news. There have been a series of problems on that stretch of line and they do need to be addressed.”

N Did the rail companies do enough after the problems? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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