Travel: Rail passenger’s anger at replacement transport gaffe

An Abellio Greater Anglia train An Abellio Greater Anglia train

Monday, September 1, 2014
7:45 AM

Under-fire rail firm Abellio Greater Anglia faced more criticism last night from a passenger left to wait for a replacement bus that never arrived.

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Patrick Roberts called his latest rail experience trumped a series of delays and cancellations to his regular commute between home in Needham Market and London.

The self-employed sales consultant was among passengers on Saturday’s 11.02pm train from Liverpool Street expecting to meet a replacement bus at Manningtree station due to planned engineering works.

With no bus at the station, passengers phoned ahead to Ipswich – from where most had arranged onward transport – and were told the bus would be there to pick them up. But after an hour’s wait it became clear that a bus would not be coming.

The company apologised and said it had instead sent a fleet of taxis to pick up the stranded customers – a gesture Mr Roberts was oblivious to, having already decided to book his own taxi home at an extra cost of £25.

Mr Roberts, who eventually arrived home at 2.25am, said: “I’ve had so many bad experiences but the latest one took the biscuit.

“I was in London to attend a meeting, which I was late for because the morning train from Needham Market was cancelled at the last minute. The train I did catch was then delayed because of a death on the line at Romford, which I appreciate is no one’s fault.

“As indicated on the website and on station boards, we got off at Manningtree for a bus to take us to Ipswich because of engineering work.

“What is particularly frustrating is that there were no staff at Manningtree. I understand if there has to be maintenance work, but plans should have been put in place.”

An Abellio Greater Anglia spokesperson said: “Due to engineering work, passengers travelling from London late last night [Saturday] were offered alternative road transport from Manningtree. A fleet of taxis was arranged to convey passengers to their destinations.

“We apologise to Mr Roberts for the inconvenience he suffered as a result and would ask that he, and any other passengers who encountered any issues, to contact our customer relations team who will be happy to help.”

On Friday, Network Rail’s regional boss Andy Boyle pledged to “take every step” to avoid a repeat of the long delays and cancellations which hit rail commuters earlier in the week, as he confirmed planned engineering work in Ipswich would go ahead this weekend.

Bosses had spent days weighing up whether or not to proceed with Sunday’s proposed railway closure following major hold-ups on Tuesday morning, when the line re-opened seven-and-half hours late after engineers struggled to connect new signals to existing signalling equipment in the station area.

7 comments

  • How dare the train company lie and say they send a fleet of taxis. Of the 30 or so people stranded I was one of the last to leave Manningtree station at around 1.40 AM from the point where we were all abandoned at 12.50. No taxis sent by the train company ever turned up. Greater Anglia showed a total disregards to the health, safety and welfare of their passengers. Disgusting!

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    Lanky

    Friday, September 5, 2014

  • My husband & I were also among those who were stranded at Manningtree on Saturday night, in fact it was my husband who made a call to Abellio & was told that there would NOT be any taxis coming to pick us up. He was told that we were to make our own arrangements to get home and claim our expenses back from Abellio and to quote his name when doing so. Therefore this spokesman is a liar.

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    Helen Morgan

    Monday, September 1, 2014

  • I obviously mean "Challenge Abellio".

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    The original Victor Meldrew

    Monday, September 1, 2014

  • Come on Archant - in view of that comment from Lynda.J you need to go back and challenge Archant on their claim about taxis being provided for stranded customers. Don't let someone from the company fob you off.

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    The original Victor Meldrew

    Monday, September 1, 2014

  • My husband and I were also amongst stranded passengers at Manningtree station on Saturday 30th August after midnight. There was no fleet of taxis laid on for our onward journey to Ipswich contrary to the statement made by Abellio. Another passenger phoned Abellio and was told that we should make our own way to Ipswich. We were there until 2 a.m. trying to find a taxi willing to come. This was disgraceful nobody seemed to care.

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    Lynda.J

    Monday, September 1, 2014

  • Come on Archant, man up! If you can hand out criticism of others then stop censoring criticism of your own business in these comments' pages. And, btw, "Patrick Roberts called his latest rail experience trumped a series of delays...." does not make sense.

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    Johnthebap

    Monday, September 1, 2014

  • My daughter, a young female travelling on her own, went to Woodbridge to meet friends but discovered that, without warning that she was aware of, the last train was cancelled from Woodbridge to Ipswich and all the taxis at the station were booked. Luckily we were able to drive from Ipswich to collect her but the service that Abellio Anglia provide is appalling.

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    BoBoBolinski

    Monday, September 1, 2014

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

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