Train chaos - worst in 15 years

THIS week's rail chaos on the main line between London and East Anglia was the worst suffered in the region for 15 years, train operators have revealed today.

THIS week's rail chaos on the main line between London and East Anglia was the worst suffered in the region for 15 years, train operators have revealed today.

'one' Railway bosses have admitted they had failed to keep passengers properly informed during the crisis.

But both the train company and track operator Network Rail confirmed that the initial problem was caused by an infrastructure failure when overhead lines fell down.

The situation was made worse by a live wire falling and touching signalling cables controlling the other track, causing them to short-circuit.

One train was trapped in a “dead” section of track once the wires came down and was delayed for more than four hours - but the signalling fault meant all trains between London and the region were delayed by two hours or more.

Peter Meades from 'one' said a combination of the two problems had compounded the problem.

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He said: “If the line had just come down, that would be bad enough. It would have closed one of the two lines but we could have used the modern signalling to put trains from both directions on the other track.

“That would have caused delays of about 20-25 minutes for the other trains.

“But that signalling was knocked out by the short circuit and trains had to be taken through manually. That caused massive delays. It was the worst we've seen in this area for about 15 years and our communications with the passengers affected was not good enough.

“We are hoping to learn from that and ensure that we keep people better informed when problems arise in future - but on this occasion there was nothing we could do to speed things up.”

A spokesman for Network Rail accepted that the initial problem had been caused by an infrastructure fault.

He said: “There was a problem with the overhead wire. It was a Network Rail issue, it was not brought down by a train. It was very unfortunate that it came down and knocked out the signalling - that made the whole situation much worse.”

Passengers will be able to claim compensation for the delays from 'one', and the rail company will then be able to seek compensation from Network Rail.

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