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Everything you need to know about the Greater Anglia train disruptions

PUBLISHED: 08:18 10 December 2019 | UPDATED: 08:18 10 December 2019

Signalling issues are causing commuting chaos for rail users in Suffolk  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Signalling issues are causing commuting chaos for rail users in Suffolk Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

Today brings yet another day of chaos for rail passengers in the region, but what is behind the series of delays that have affected Greater Anglia customers in Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk in the past week?

One of Greater Anglia's new trains came within a quarter of a second of hitting a car in Thorpe End  Picture: GREATER ANGLIAOne of Greater Anglia's new trains came within a quarter of a second of hitting a car in Thorpe End Picture: GREATER ANGLIA

What is going on?

Passengers on the local network have faced serious disruption in the last week, especially since Friday, December 6.

Trains have been cancelled, delayed or revised on a daily basis - leading to widespread anger among the county's commuters.

Today, more than 70 services have been cancelled.

What is causing the problem?

There have been several "signalling problems" on the line but the issue is more complex than it may first appear.

While engineers from Greater Anglia and Network Rail - who are responsible for resolving signalling issues - have been looking at the operation of the signalling system, while leaves on the line have also been causing major issues.

The heavy rain has turned the fallen leaves to mush, and this has been causing short circuits, which can affect sensors controlling automatic level crossings.

Jamie Burles, Managing Director of Greater Anglia Picture: VICTORIA PERTUSAJamie Burles, Managing Director of Greater Anglia Picture: VICTORIA PERTUSA

There is also discussions on whether the new trains are able to be picked up by sensors on the tracks, especially following a near-miss for one of the new class 755 trains at a level crossing in Norfolk.

What about the new trains?

Greater Anglia is in the process of rolling out the new fleet of Swiss-built Stadler bimodes but the introduction has not run smoothly.

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As mentioned previously, there is concern regarding whether they can be picked up by track sensors, while problems switching from diesel to electric power have also been reported.

Does this mean there is a shortage of trains?

On rural services, a lack of trains is an additional issue.

After handing back two thirds of its fleet of diesel trains at the end of their lease in November, the operator is left with a limited amount of older stock.

Only half of its fleet of new trains has been commissioned.

What do Greater Anglia say?

Speaking previously, Mark Budden, Network Rail Anglia route director, and Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia managing director issued a statement saying: "We are extremely sorry for the continued disruption to passengers using regional routes in Norfolk and Suffolk.

"Our engineers have been working round the clock to investigate why we are having problems with the track signalling system, which has led to us reducing the number of services we can run.

"We are examining every factor including components of the signalling system, the impact of leaf fall, and the interaction between the signalling system and passenger trains, old and new."

The statement added they plan to resume normal services "as soon as we can".

What can I do if I've been affected?

Passengers who have been delayed by more than 15 minutes may be entitled to compensation.

Those affected can find more information here.


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