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Suffolk/Norfolk: Frustrated commuters vent anger following train chaos

12:55 25 January 2013

Commuters faced chaos at London Liverpool Street last night. Pic: Rob Kingham.

Commuters faced chaos at London Liverpool Street last night. Pic: Rob Kingham.


COMMUTERS vented their anger after they were plunged into travel chaos last night with hours of train delays and more than a dozen cancellations following signalling problems and a fatality.

A person died at Witham station after being hit by a train – and signalling problems at London Liverpool Street led to severe delays to passengers travelling home to the region during rush hour.

Frustrated commuter Stuart Jackson said: “The service is disgraceful.

“The disruption times they are giving are wrong. I have been delayed at least 30 minutes every day this week.”

Train operator Greater Anglia reported the death at Witham at 5.45pm. The line was closed by police for about 45 minutes before reopening at 6.30pm.

A Greater Anglia spokesman also confirmed London Liverpool Street experienced signalling problems from 5pm, causing a limited service through Shenfield.

The spokesman added Network Rail was investigating the problem, which had caused “hours of delays” at three of the main Liverpool Street platforms servicing the region.

He said: “There have been severe delays lasting more than an hour in some cases but we are now catching up with our services.

“It is no consolation for people travelling home and we apologise for this.”

Normal service had still not resumed at 9.30pm last night.

Imogen Dempsey, who commutes three days a week from London to Marks Tey, said the service had deteriorated since the London Olympics.

“They were given a target during the Olympics but since then the service has gone through the floor. There are delays after delays after delays.

“It puts you under pressure from your employers, and travelling home it’s even worse – people have children to look after and have appointments at hospitals.

“It’s just a huge waste of everyone’s time and money.”

Ken Suttling said on Twitter: “I can’t begin to tell you how angry I am over the way the travelling public has been treated by you these last few weeks. Your appalling service has finally made me decide to retire. You’ve finally beaten me down. Congratulations.”


  • Perspective - yes. It is needed. So is a plan B for when things do go wrong. Been the same for years. No idea about how to sort things out. Last night the poor conductor had less information than those with access to the web. 3 hours for a 1 hour journey isnt really acceptable - again. Plan B is required. You would think it shouldnt take too much to work out what to do if certain situations occur and implement when the problem arises.

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    Friday, January 25, 2013

  • Whilst these delays have been regrettable (yes I have been caught up in them), the realistic view is that they would have occurred regardless of the train operator be it GA, NXEA or whoever else was running the trains The majority of them were due to track and signalling problems and as such are Network Rail's domain. Greater Anglia get the stick from the public as they are the face of the railway, which is understandable, but if the track isn't fit for their trains to run on then they can't run them. The same goes for the information provided to the public. They can only forward the information provided to them. I'm not saying GA are totally blameless in all of this but a little perspective never did any harm. This probably doesn't help those who are reading this whilst on a delayed train but at least they'll get home, unlike one poor individual last night.

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    Barry Steadmans

    Friday, January 25, 2013

  • @Jerry Jones ...youve hit the nail on the head. Why so many people have decided to settle in Suffolk and Norfolk yet commute to the "big smoke" and think they can get the best of both worlds surprises me. With fast broadband connections in most towns and larger rural settlements in the counties a lot of the work these admin types do could easily be done from individual's home or perhaps even better a network of shared satellite offices which could cheaply be set up in places such as StowmarketDissWoodbridge etc to promote corporate unity and compansionship with colleagues. Such satellites would also help keep local shopsPOs and pubs in business.

    Report this comment

    Steve Blake

    Friday, January 25, 2013

  • @Ted Maul...of course its sad that someone loses their life...but this discussion is more about the fact that that just happened to be the latest in a long long strain of disasters that cause almost daily delays and disruption. I am on the text advice system from GA and now collect them each day (sad I know) just to show my colleagues the amazing and pathetic array of excuses and delays on an almost daily basis. When GA took over, we all hoped for improvement from the apathy that NXEA had slipped into once told they'd lost the franchise. An initial burst of "new paint" gave promise (but then we were going into summer, always less disruptive), but this Autumn things started sliding...and have now reached a disgusting level. Yes, some problems are not their fault, track and signalling, but many are (train failures, staff shortages, missed connections and incorrect information). Sadly they have failed and God help us if we don't get some proper experience and professionalism when the Franchise next changes. If GA get it again, I'm moving away from this Region - seriously!

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    Weary Traveller

    Friday, January 25, 2013

  • I feel sorry for today's commuters. Seldom does a day pass without some report of long delays or cancellations. When I commuted to London many years ago, pulled by a good old reliable steam powered Britannia class locomotive, into Liverpool Street station, arriving five minutes late was the cause of much dismay. And long delays and cancellations were extremely rare occurrences. So back to steam then?

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    Friday, January 25, 2013

  • I loved the old Anglia train service...older carriages but we travelled regularly to London on them and it was a £10 return journey pre privatisation...we barely go to London now with the fares so high and the possibility of delays. I feel sorry for all you commuters.

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    sue douglas

    Friday, January 25, 2013

  • Hi dbr. When GA took over the franchise last year that is exactly what they did, though it isn't directly noticeable by the travelling public. They introduced a set of contingency plans that cover pretty much every problem that could occur and set out plans on how to deal with it, along the lines of "if this happens then we do x, y, & z and if that happens we do a, b, & c". The ironic thing is that the main impact that the plans have on the public is the cancellation of further trains. If, for example, there's a problem on the mainline then they cancel the trains that leave on the top of the hour to help reduce congestion in the area in order to help get normal running as soon as possible, that sort of thing. This isn't gospel and I'm not speaking for the company, it's just how I understand it. As for the provision of information, in this day and age of instant news, Twitter and Facebook it's inevitable that those who have access to these services will be one step ahead of those who don't. Remember the poor folks at Jessops who found out they were going into administration via Sky News! The staff have Blackberries but they can only do the basics (ie no Social Networking access).

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    Barry Steadmans

    Friday, January 25, 2013

  • Never mind that someone lost their life then, as long you're not home half an hour late. Perspective.

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    Ted Maul

    Friday, January 25, 2013

  • I'm afraid the truth is that if you want to commute to work in London but enjoy the delights of living in East Anglia, this is the risk you take. Unfortunately, if you find yourself stranded at Liverpool Street at 9 o'clock in the evening, the only Plan B is to get a room. The Great Eastern Hotel is handy although you might have to pay up to £360 a night. It is possible to find rooms for less than £100 a night in the City, but they do get snapped up when the trains are bad. However, these delays should give you time to reflect on the benefits of being a rural commuter: the fresh air in the country when you get up before dawn and get home late at night .. the availability of parking spaces in the station multi-storey .. the jolly company of the office drunks on the evening train from Liverpool Street .. the peace and quiet at weekends when you can sleep off the weekly grind. And of course an annual season ticket Ipswich-London is only £5,480. Count your blessings.

    Report this comment

    Jerry Jones

    Friday, January 25, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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