Suffolk: Rail bosses apologise after day of misery on London main line

IPSWICH: Rail bosses have today apologised following a day of misery on the region’s trains.

The disruption, which saw delays of more than an hour for services travelling between Ipswich and London, was caused because strong winds damaged an overhead power line just outside the capital.

The chaos happened on the day that most people returned to work following the Christmas break and just 24 hours after average fares increased by nearly 6%.

The problems started yesterday morning as rush-hour travellers experienced delays of more than an hour when travelling in and out of Liverpool Street Station.

All services moving through Stratford were affected and the delays soon turned to cancellations.

Engineers worked throughout the morning and fixed the problem by 12pm – although the delays continued into the afternoon as the service tried to recover.

However bosses were expecting to run a normal evening service.

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Neil Skinner, chairman of Manningtree Rail Users Federation, said: “The fare increase is just kicking people while they’re down. The delays are a combination of poor infrastructure and the bad weather but it’s also a consequence of 50 years under investment.

“National Express gets blamed for everything – I’m not a fan of theirs but I think Network Rail is more at fault.”

National Express East Anglia announced last month that fares would increase by an average of 5.8% on January 2, slightly below the national average increase of 5.9%.

A spokesman for NXEA said: “Train services were delayed in the Stratford area because of a defect with the overhead power line equipment.

“Network Rail engineers worked as quickly as possible to restore services and rectify the fault and we apologise to passengers for the inconvenience caused.”

A spokeswoman for Network Rail added: “Engineers worked as fast as possible to fix the problems and we apologise for the disruption caused.

“Our analysis and testing indicates that the problems with the overhead line equipment were because of the severe weather.

“Like many other parts of the country, we were hit by high winds. Once again, we apologise to passengers for the disruption to their journeys and the inconvenience caused.”

The Evening Star and its three sister local daily newspapers in Suffolk and Norfolk, along with MPs and business leaders, are demanding huge improvements to our main rail line to London in our On the Right Tracks? campaign,

Were you affected by the delays? What do you think of the rail service? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail