Rail line’s night of madness

IPSWICH: A “night of madness” is how train passengers today described the chaos caused by overhead line failures this week.

The fault, thought to have been caused by a lightning strike, left passengers stranded at train stations along the Liverpool Street to Ipswich line and it took some up to six hours to get home.

One commuter, who left the capital at 9.30pm on Wednesday and pulled into Ipswich station at 3am yesterday, said: “People were left stranded at railway stations with no idea what was happening.

“People were fighting for buses at Shenfield, I thought someone was going to get hurt because they were being crushed in the crowd as people went all out for themselves. This was a night of madness that I will never forget.”

Jon Jones, who works for a national newspaper in London, was turfed off the train at Shenfield after an hour-long wait and forced to fight his way on to a bus to Chelmsford.

The 43-year-old, of Gainsborough, said: “People were elbowing one another and they were running to get on the buses.”

Helen Patient was caught up in the nightmare as she travelled from West Wales to Ipswich to stay with relatives.

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“I was on the 9pm train from Liverpool Street to Ipswich due to arrive at 10.04pm and in fact we arrived at 2.15am – delays of four hours.”

Passengers were taken to Chelmsford by bus, then on to Colchester following another delay and eventually boarded a third bus to Ipswich.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “A failure of the overhead power system in the Ingatestone area led to associated problems with the signalling equipment.

“As a result, all signalling was lost between Shenfield and Chelmsford, resulting in significant delays to passengers.”

He said the fault may have been caused by a lightning strike, although investigations are ongoing, and that engineers worked through the night to rectify the fault.

There were still disruptions through the morning rush hour yesterday, with passengers experiencing delays of around 30 minutes on their journeys to London.

A spokesman for National Express East Anglia said: “We apologise for the delays and disruption that affected our Norwich, Ipswich, Colchester and Chelmsford to London services Wednesday evening and early Thursday morning.”

n Were you caught up in the trouble on the tracks? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@

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