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Sudbury/Marks Tey: Passengers left stranded on foot bridge as connecting train fails to wait before setting off on onward journey to London

08:22 19 August 2014

Concerns have been raised about the “viability” of the Sudbury to London rail service after a connecting train left Marks Tey station while passengers were still on a footbridge trying to get to the platform.

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Transport links to and from the west Suffolk market town have come under the spotlight again in recent months with renewed calls for improved road links and a direct rail line from Sudbury to the capital.

The latest issue with the Sudbury to London service, which requires passengers to change trains at Marks Tey, has been highlighted by South Suffolk Conservative parliamentary candidate James Cartlidge.

He was on his way to visit his 80-year-old father in Cheshire, via Euston, when the incident happened.

Mr Cartlidge said: “I took the 5.32pm from Sudbury and, like the rest of the passengers, was surprised when I got out at Marks Tey and started to ascend the bridge over to the London line only to see the main line connecting train pulling out of the station.

“The driver knew there were passengers on the bridge coming over who were just seconds away but he didn’t wait.

“I then had to wait half an hour for the next service and missed the train I was booked on out of Euston. The other passengers, some of whom were elderly, were really annoyed and upset.”

Mr Cartlidge said he was told by a member of Greater Anglia staff that a new directive had been issued instructing drivers not to hold the main line service at Marks Tey if the Sudbury line train was delayed.

As it stands, gaps between connecting trains can be as little as four minutes and Mr Cartlidge has written to Abellio Greater Anglia’s chief executive asking for reassurances.

He added: “If an elderly person or family with a buggy and children are taking longer to cross the bridge, are we saying that rather than hold the doors on the London train a bit longer, they will be shut without sparing a second?

“Also, a large number of commuters living in Sudbury and the surrounding villages rely on this service.

“If the trains are not guaranteed to connect, then Sudbury is nothing more than a branch line and cannot be seen as a viable intercity service.”

An Abellio Greater Anglia spokeswoman said they were sorry Mr Cartlidge had missed his connection.

She also said there had been no new directive relating to connections at Mark Tey.

She added: “The performance of the Sudbury line is usually very reliable with a moving annual average of 94.8% putting it well above the national average and so connections are normally made at Marks Tey.

“The timetable and connection times are long established, taking into account the interchange from one service to another.

“However, we thank the customer for their feedback and we will continue to monitor the situation.”

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7 comments

  • I added a comment yesterday afternoon (20 August) which has not yet appeared.

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    socrates

    Thursday, August 21, 2014

  • It is good to know that Mr. Cartlidge experienced this fiasco first-hand. At the best of times the connecting London service barely gives one time to cross the bridge and if carrying heavy suitcases or slightly infirm it would be impossible. Is there an alternative to climbing stairs and crossing this bridge if one is disabled? I asked this sometime ago when burdened down with suitcases and the answer seemed to be 'only if you don't mind taking the long way round and missing the train'. Surely the station refurbishment could have included such facilities. What happened to disabled access? Many use this line to connect with London main line stations and are not travelling light. How then are they supposed to get everything up and down the stairs and catch the train? It would be wonderful if Mr. Cartlidge could urge improvement here - direct service to London would be ideal but probably unlikely. If only!

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    socrates

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014

  • The connection (charge over the bridge) time is fairly tight at the best of the times. As I cannot imagine the outgoing train was leaving early, it must mean the train from Sudbury was behind schedule. As this is just a single track, shuttle backwards and forth type service, it should not be a problem. I know timetables are set in stone but why does the train have to have a waiting period at Sudbury railway station? Why not a " all off, all on, let's get going again" service ?

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    The original Victor Meldrew

    Tuesday, August 19, 2014

  • Abellio Greater Anglia took over the running of the service with all these promises to bring the service up to scratch and improve reliability... Sure it may be early days for the company but so far all we can see is that the service is getting worse! A dramatic change needs to happen to gain the faith in this company, improvements need to be made and service connections (as outlined in this article) need to be improved. The fact that this company doesn't give a damn about the connecting lines, like the Sudbury branch line says it all really. It's time Abellio Greater Anglia began to realise who their customer is and concentrate on keeping them happy, not their statistics!

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    Shauny

    Tuesday, August 19, 2014

  • Mr Cartlidge's dim party came up with the stupid idea of privatising the railways, as they did the fuel companies. Both sectors are in a unholy mess, caused by the simple fact that private sector, profit-driven organisations haven't a clue about offering a proper service to everybody.

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    James Lakin

    Tuesday, August 19, 2014

  • Rail fares up 6% !, service down 60% !, that's Privatisation for you !

    Report this comment

    freedomf

    Tuesday, August 19, 2014

  • Here is another prime example of PRIVATISATION at it's best !

    Report this comment

    freedomf

    Tuesday, August 19, 2014

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