Ipswich: Passengers show a lot of bottle as train runs out of water

IPSWICH/FELIXSTOWE: It was like a scene out of a Thomas the Tank Engine book when a train from Felixstowe ground to a halt on the outskirts of Ipswich.

With the engine out of coolant, a request went out from the driver and conductor to the passengers: “Has anyone got any bottles of water we can use to get the train going again?”

A few passengers had bottled water with them, which was gratefully collected by the conductor. The guard poured them into the train, which restarted and made its way to the end of the trip at Ipswich station.

The single-car unit was running low on coolant as it approached Derby Road station on the 12.28 train from Felixstowe to Ipswich.

If the coolant falls below a minimum level the diesel engine automatically cuts out to avoid the danger of it seizing up altogether. That happened at Tuesday lunchtime, leaving the unit stranded just outside the station. The conductor had a supply of water, but it was not enough to top up the coolant reserve.

But with the contribution from passengers there was enough to restart the engine and for the train to finish its journey at Ipswich.

Peter Meades of National Express East Anglia praised the train crew and passengers.

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He said: “We apologise for the delay to the 12.28 Felixstowe to Ipswich service, and we’re very grateful to passengers on the train who willingly came forward to assist the train crew in offering bottles of water which enabled the driver to restore the coolant levels, following a fault that occurred with the engine of the train.

“After attention by the driver, the train was able to continue to Ipswich.”

He said the Felixstowe route was a busy line and if the company had been forced to send out a rescue train from Ipswich it would have caused all kinds of problems especially with all the freight trains heading to and from the port.

Coolant levels are checked before every journey, but when the train returned to Ipswich there was found to be a leak in a pipe. This was fixed by a technician and the train was able to return to normal service.

n Did you provide bottled water to keep the train running? Contact the Evening Star newsdesk on 01473-324788.