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Suffolk/UK: Rail bosses warned after winter problems cause havoc for travellers

PUBLISHED: 12:10 21 February 2013 | UPDATED: 12:10 21 February 2013

Greater Anglia InterCity train

Greater Anglia InterCity train

Archant © 2012

NETWORK Rail failed to live up to the promises it made during the run-up to winter – that’s the bleak verdict of the government’s Office of Rail Regulation.

The latest report from the ORR found that in most of the country Network Rail’s preparations for winter appeared robust heading towards the end of 2012.

But the arrival of the heavy rain over Christmas and bad weather in January left the rail company struggling.

In this region, Greater Anglia’s performance figures dipped significantly during January – largely caused by infrastructure issues like signal failures and over-running engineering work.

Richard Price, ORR chief executive, said: “Network Rail’s operational performance on parts of Britain’s rail network has been poor over recent months.

“ORR is concerned that the company is losing touch with key performance targets as passengers again suffered poor performance during challenging weather conditions.

“We are absolutely determined to see the resilience of Britain’s railways improve, especially in bad weather.

“The strong performance of the railways in Scotland – supported by excellent collaboration and planning between Network Rail and train operators – shows that our railways can deliver when conditions get tough.”

Network Rail chief executive David Higgins said: “We recognise that this has been a difficult period for passengers, with disruption on many lines due to extreme weather.

“Our staff worked tirelessly, often in difficult circumstances, to get the railway back up and running and we would like to thank passengers and train operators for bearing with us during this time.”

During the four weeks to February 2, performance figures for Greater Anglia fell significantly – from an average of just over 92% of trains arriving on time to just over 86% running to timetable.

A spokesman for Greater Anglia said the performance had since improved again, and the train operator would continue to work with Network Rail to try to eliminate problems as much as possible.

“Over the last 12 months, the performance figures remain the best this franchise has seen since it was created in its current form in 2004,” he added.

A formation of Lynx helicopters made a stop at Wattisham Flying Station today to mark the end of the aircraft’s distinguished 40-year career with the British Army.

A former head teacher from Saffron Walden who was found with “horrific” child abuse images has avoided jail.

A man from Bedfordshire has been arrested in connection with a ram-raid in Long Melford.

A man and a teenager from Stowmarket have been charged with robbery along with a series of other offences.

More than four thousand people have signed a petition launched by a concerned Mum, urging the county council to scrap a controversial consultation into cutting free school transport.

Ipswich Town Hall is preparing for its 150th birthday with a major celebration at the end of the month.

A 26-year-old man who was wanted on recall for prison after breaching the terms of his licence has been found.

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