Suffolk: County council chairman calls for action after ‘horlicks’ of a train journey
17:01 23 June 2014
Rail disruptions, which last week brought chaos to East Anglia, are a threat to the region’s economy and must be tackled urgently, a leading county councillor has said.
Christopher Hudson, the chairman of Suffolk County Council, who was stranded in London with thousands of commuters said the current service was “not fit for the 21st Century”.
“As a county our economy depends on leisure, pleasure and trade and it’s just not good enough for this to happen,” he said.
“The rail network is the main artery into the east of England and last week it suffered the most sclerotic horlicks of a break down it has suffered for some time.”
The delays, caused by damaged overhead cables at Hatfield Peverel on Tuesday afternoon left Abellio Greater Anglia passengers travelling between London and East Anglia stranded for more than two hours with services delayed and backed up for most of the evening.
Mr Hudson, who arrived home in Framlingham at around 11.30pm –almost four and a half hours after he was due to leave London Liverpool Street – said the overcrowded train, when it eventually departed, resembled the chaotic rail carriage scene in the film Doctor Zhivago.
“They are going to give us half our money back but it’s not good enough – it’s like we are hostages to fortune on these services,” he said.
Other passengers have also complained about the delays and the lack of information provided, with some not arriving home until the early hours. Commuters making their London-bound journey the following morning found their frustration compounded by further signalling related delays outside Liverpool Street station. There were more problems on Thursday when a lorry hit a low rail bridge near Ipswich station, suspending services for around 45 minutes in rush hour.
Bosses from Greater Anglia have apologised to customers for the delays on Tuesday evening and said they would be holding a “full investigation” with Network Rail to avoid any repeat of the problems.
Peter Meades, from Abellio Greater Anglia, added: “Under the terms of our Passenger’s Charter, customers are entitled to reimbursement up to the cost of the affected journey.”
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