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Ipswich: ‘Same old story’ – Angry commuters criticise rail bosses as over-running engineering works cause chaos

PUBLISHED: 11:44 11 August 2014 | UPDATED: 14:11 11 August 2014

Widespread disruption at Ipswich train station on Monday morning

Widespread disruption at Ipswich train station on Monday morning

Archant

Rail travellers in Ipswich have vented their anger after over-running engineering works caused widespread disruption this morning.

Services to London and across the county are now returning to a normal service after engineering works between Ipswich and Stowmarket overrun, train operation Greater Anglia admitted.

London commuter Mark Pearson, 49, of Church Lane, Claydon, said the travelling chaos was the “same old story”.

He said: “I commute every day to London and it is a poor service considering all the investment that has been put in – or not put in.

“Considering the cost of travel, it is a poor show.”

He said delays and cancellations at short notice are frequent, adding: “Last week there was disruption on three days going to London due to power and cable problems in the Ipswich area.

“It is very frustrating as you are trying to get to work and meetings on time.

“There needs to be more investment on this (the Norwich to London) line particularly, and also on the trains themselves. The train now coming in has slam-doors, which are ancient.”

Cheryl Whiting, who travels by rail from Ipswich to Newmarket during the week, said it took her five hours to get home last Wednesday.

“They said there were signalling problems at Stowmarket. I didn’t get home until 11.30pm,” she said.

She added: “It is not just Greater Anglia or British Rail – it is Network Rail as a whole. Engineering works nearly always over-run, especially near London.”

She said the delays and cancellations will cost the local economy as it continues to recover from the recession, adding over-running engineering works are unacceptable.

Meanwhile London commuter Mark Hollingsworth, of Ipswich, a season-ticket holder with Greater Anglia, questioned the train operator’s punctuality.

He said: “I have commuted across the country for 10 years, and for the last six weeks have commuted from Ipswich to London. In my experience, I think they have been running in the morning no more than two-thirds on time.

“For others who have been commuting for a lot longer, if it has only been running on time for two-thirds, then it has not been very good.”

He added: “Last week there was a lot of disruption due to signal problems at Stowmarket and I can only assume that they are trying to fix it, which may have possibly caused the over-run.

“At the moment, all we see is cancelled, cancelled, cancelled. Will we ever leave this train station?”

He also raised concerns over the lack of information being given by staff at the train station, leaving commuters in the dark.

He said: “We are stood here now and there are no announcements. I can live with the unreliability, as long as information is forthcoming, which makes all of it tolerable. Today there is just nothing.”

The long-awaited visit of the Flying Scotsman to Ipswich on Saturday has been thrown into doubt after a fault developed on the legend’s journey to the region on Wednesday.

Another Suffolk community is preparing for battle with its district council over proposals to build hundreds of homes which would change its character forever.

A bestselling author who has a love for Suffolk has described how much of an influence the county’s landscape has on her work as part of her address receiving an honorary degree from the University of Suffolk.

An 80-year-old cyclist says he is ‘devastated’ after the bike he has ridden for 20 years - nicknamed Ed - was stolen in Stowmarket.

A 23-year-old man has been charged with eight burglaries in Suffolk and Norfolk.

An environmental group is hoping to raise more than £57,000 in just three weeks to buy a tract of land for a nature reserve.

A Yoxford woman who has been raising money for charity from a jam and chutney stall outside her home for 20 years says she is ‘sick and tired’ of people taking a jar and not paying up.

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