MP blasts rail chaos

AS COMMUTERS face a nervous weekend waiting to see if more engineering works in London will over-run, Ipswich MP Chris Mole today blasted the New Year havoc as “pathetic.

AS COMMUTERS face a nervous weekend waiting to see if more engineering works in London will over-run, Ipswich MP Chris Mole today blasted the New Year havoc as “pathetic.”

Mr Mole plans to tell rail minister Tom Harris about the problems faced by his constituents, and those from throughout East Anglia, when he returns to Westminster on Monday.

But there are fears this weekend that journeys into Liverpool Street could be delayed again because the station is shut again tomorrow for further engineering work.

Bosses at train operator 'one' railway have sent formal letters of complaint to both Network Rail, which carried out the work, and the Office of the Rail Regulator (ORR), which oversees rail matters on behalf of the government.

The train company was particularly incensed by Network Rail's delay in telling it about the engineering over-run after the station was closed for 11 days over the Christmas and New Year period.

A spokeswoman for 'one' said the company had been consistently assured that the work was on schedule during the closure: “In fact at one stage, fairly late on, we were told that they were well ahead of schedule. The problems only became apparent a few hours before the station was due to reopen, giving us no time to warn our passengers,” she said.

Most Read

The failure to keep 'one' informed about the problems forms a central part of the complaint that has been lodged with Network Rail and the ORR.

Mr Mole said today: “The situation at Liverpool Street after the long shut-down was pretty pathetic. As I understand it Network Rail completed all the major work like the bridge demolition and relaying track on time.

“But they did not have enough electricians to complete the reasonably straightforward job of replacing the 1940s overhead lines. That is just not good enough.

“They managed to complete the work in Ipswich tunnel on time - I don't know what happened this time. As I've said it was a pretty pathetic performance.”

A spokesman for Network Rail said tomorrow's work will involve the replacement of overhead lines at a junction between Liverpool Street and Stratford - but said the work was much less complex than that over the Christmas/New Year period.

He said: “The work is due to be completed by 11pm on Sunday so there is a bit of lee-way there, but we are aware that everyone will be monitoring what happens.

“Most of our engineering work is completed on time, but we accept that is no consolation to those whose journeys were disrupted this week.”

N What action should be taken against Network Rail? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter