Leaking train from Bury St Edmunds to Ipswich criticised
08:00 09 January 2016
Passengers were soaked on a Bury St Edmunds rail service because the carriage was so leaky it let in rain water.
Some travellers said they almost felt the need to put up an umbrella because so much water was coming in on the Thursday (January 7) 7.23am Bury-Ipswich service, which was packed full of commuters.
Last night, a Suffolk county councillor and train commentator backed travellers’ calls for improved carriages following Thursday’s incident, claiming some of the carriages had been “left to rot”.
Rail operator Abellio Greater Anglia has apologised about the condition of the carriage.
Steve Lovell was heading to work at University College Suffolk on Thursday morning.
“I did actually consider putting up my umbrella,” he said.
“It’s the worst I’ve seen. I’ve had to move fairly often but it was noticeable how many people were saying ‘I don’t want to move to a window seat because I’m going to get wet’.
“It was the first time I’ve known the conductor announce an apology for it.”
He said the leaks came from the windows, where the seals had eroded so much that rainwater was streaming in.
Mr Lovell described the 7.23am service as the “main commuter train”, as it is the last train to arrive in Ipswich before 9am.
“Every day by the time we get to Needham Market there’s normally people standing because there’s no space and sometimes well before Needham Market. It’s fairly ridiculous.”
Former cabinet member for transport at Suffolk County Council Graham Newman said the single-carriage trains were in an appalling state compared to the rest of the country.
“When you see those trains elsewhere in the country, like First Great Western or London Midland, they’re in beautiful condition.
“Ours look like they’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards. There’s been no internal maintenance. The thing you’re talking about with rain coming through the window shows how they’ve been allowed to rot this side of the country.”
An Abellio Greater Anglia spokeswoman said: “We would like to apologise to passengers who were travelling on this service. Our staff are working to rectify the fault.”
Ipswich MP Ben Gummer said the incident highlighted the need to bring the proposed East West rail route forward.
“In the long-term, we need to finish East West Rail so that we have a single line from Ipswich to Oxford. I hope the franchise will see a significant improvement in rolling stock,” he said, adding this was the first time he had heard of water leaking into a train.
Yesterday, Abellio Greater Anglia announced a new programme to provide an additional 600,000 seats a year underway – as the first of its upgraded carriages entered service
The programme covers the intercity trains between Norwich, Ipswich, Colchester and London.
The initiative is part of a wider £12m refresh for the intercity carriages.
Managing director, Jamie Burles, said: “The introduction of the first upgraded carriages with an additional 54 standard seats is another important milestone in the major upgrade programme for our intercity services.”
He described it as a “real step forward” for customers.
“We are committed to consistently raising service standards for the remainder of our current short franchise to October 2016, as well as continuing to help build the case for further investment in East Anglia’s rail network,” he said.