Rail disruption as tunnel is closed
THOUSANDS of travellers today saw the start of eight weeks of disruption of the Ipswich tunnel closure became a reality.On the first weekday morning, the Star joined the crowds of commuters and visitors heading to the capital.
THOUSANDS of travellers today saw the start of eight weeks of disruption of the Ipswich tunnel closure became a reality.
On the first weekday morning, the Star joined the crowds of commuters and visitors heading to the capital.
It wasn't an easy journey - but no one could complain that it hadn't gone to plan on day one.
We caught the 7.07 bus from Ipswich, scheduled to arrive at Manningtree at 7.35 to connect with the 7.45 train to London.
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The bus left on time and arrived at Manningtree 10 minutes early - traffic isn't too bad going out of town early in the morning.
At Manningtree a large number of "One" rail staff were on hand where their main job was to stop passengers catching an earlier stopping train, which would be overtaken by the InterCity service at Colchester.
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The train itself was a normal InterCity service, and made the journey non-stop from Manningtree to London in an hour, arriving in the capital three minutes early.
Non of the passenger we spoke to today had been surprised about the bus journey, and most were resigned to the disruption they would be facing.
However one traveller from Norwich was irritated because he hadn't been aware of an alternative through service via Cambridge.
Richard Gleave, from Belstead Road, in Ipswich, is a daily commuter to the capital. He was prepared for the disrupted journey, but felt eight weeks of such travel would be difficult.
"It's all going to plan and we have expected this, but it isn't easy and I shall be glad when it is all over. But it is only day one and I suppose we shall have to get used to it," he said.
Darren Long, from Thorington Park, in Ipswich, felt he had chosen the wrong day to return to work in London after a two-week holiday.
"It's just what we're going to have to get used to from now on. It certainly isn't easy, but commuting isn't easy at the best of times."
Paul Keeley used the direct bus service from Stowmarket to Manningtree, and again had found the trip difficult, but not unexpected.
"We've all been bracing ourselves a bit for this, it's what we had expected but it doesn't make it a nice way of getting to work in the morning."
At Ipswich Station today there was an army of staff ensuring passengers knew which bus to catch, where to park, and how the system would be operated.
It was all carefully organised - and there seemed little obvious confusion. Last night at the end of a weekend of work it was rather different, as fewer staff were on hand and people trying to find information about today's journeys were left feeling confused.
One railways spokeswoman Kerri Worrall said the company had been very pleased by the way things had gone so far.
"All the passengers seem to have known what was happening and to have managed to get on the right buses and trains, we know it isn't going to be easy for them but it does seem as if the planning we made has worked out."
n Are you a commuter who has a story to tell about the tunnel closures? Write to us at Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or visit the Evening Star forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk.