Rail chaos getting back to normal

RAIL services between East Anglia and London were today getting back to normal after hours of chaos following a power failure in the Chelmsford area.One train heading from London to Ipswich was delayed by four hours last night - and other services were seriously delayed.

RAIL services between East Anglia and London were today getting back to normal after hours of chaos following a power failure in the Chelmsford area.

One train heading from London to Ipswich was delayed by four hours last night - and other services were seriously delayed.

The chaos happened after overhead power lines came down in the Chelmsford area. The problem also affected signalling circuits, effectively closing the main line.

A 'one' train service heading to Ipswich and Norwich was caught in the section of track without power, and a spokesman for the company said it was very difficult to get a diesel locomotive in place to rescue it.


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Jonathan Denby, of 'one' said the problem happened at the worst possible time.

He said: “We sent a rescue locomotive for this train, but it was caught behind all the other trains heading out of London.

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“Because the signalling was knocked out each train had to be taken through manually and that could take up to half an hour to clear the section - so delays quickly built up.”

Only one of the two tracks remained open as the company tried to cope with the rush-hour demand.

“The train was trapped just a few hundred yards south of Hatfield Peverel station, near Chelmsford. Had it been in the station we could have got people out of the train,” said Mr Denby.

Network Rail were today investigating the cause of the problem, but Mr Denby said it was not caused by a train snagging the cable.

“This was a case of the overhead wires failing and it is for Network Rail to investigate. It was not caused by a train bringing the wires down.”

The problem was eventually fixed at the line reopened at 2am today.

Mr Denby's colleague Peter Meades said passengers on the heavily-delayed train would be offered a full refund - and season-ticket holders would also be offered a discount.

“We are very sorry for all the disruption this caused our passengers and will be talking to Network Rail to try to find out why things were so difficult and learn from it,” he said.

A spokesman for Network Rail said they were investigating the cause of the problem as a matter of urgency.

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