Plastic bag causes rail delays

FIRST it was leaves, then it was snow — now the humble plastic bag has stopped rail passengers in their tracks.People using the Anglia Railways service from London Liverpool Street to Ipswich were held up for around 30 minutes and then had to board a separate train after a polythene bag became entangled in the electrical equipment that powers the engine.

FIRST it was leaves, then it was snow — now the humble plastic bag has stopped rail passengers in their tracks.

People using the Anglia Railways service from London Liverpool Street to Ipswich were held up for around 30 minutes and then had to board a separate train after a polythene bag became entangled in the electrical equipment that powers the engine.

Strong winds had blown the bag up towards the high voltage cables above the track and it had snared on the pantograph – the piece of equipment on the top of the locomotive that conducts 25,000 volts from the cables to the engine – crippling the train.

The train, which was carrying around 70 passengers, made its scheduled stop at Colchester, in Essex, but an indicator in the driver's cab alerted staff to the nuisance and engineers were called to remove the offending piece of plastic.

To continue the journey could have caused severe damage to both the cables and the pantograph.

As there were no engineers on site, passengers were informed over the intercom system that they would face a "lengthy wait" and those who were only travelling as far as Ipswich were encouraged to take a different service.

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Anglia Railways spokesman Peter Meades apologised to passengers for the delay but said: "This does happen from time to time when there are strong winds.

"The very high power lines carry 25,000 volts and the pantograph is an extremely sensitive piece of equipment.

"You cannot keep running the train because it will damage the pantograph and the overhead cables."

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