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‘Unacceptable’ toilet shortage on crowded Greater Anglia train left passengers ‘urinating in bottles’ between Suffolk and London

PUBLISHED: 16:28 02 June 2017 | UPDATED: 16:29 02 June 2017

Frustrated commuters claim they were left urinating in bottles after a delayed Greater Anglia train had a shortage of working toilets. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Frustrated commuters claim they were left urinating in bottles after a delayed Greater Anglia train had a shortage of working toilets. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

Rail groups in Suffolk and Essex have spoken out over claims commuters were left urinating in bottles on a packed Greater Anglia train.

Passengers on a busy intercity service from London Liverpool Street to Norwich said toilets on the delayed train were locked and out of order.

Those who were desperate either departed the train earlier than intended or urinated in plastic bottles because they were unable to wait any longer.

Peter Moll got off the train at Colchester – several stops before his destination.

He said: “What century are we in when trains do not have working loos. Absolute disgrace.”

Rail operator Greater Anglia said they had used a different train to their usual intercity model because the network was facing 30 minute delays. This meant there were two separate sections of the train, and working toilets in the other part were only accessible if passengers got off.

Graham Newman, East Suffolk Travellers Association member and chairman of Felixstowe Travel Watch, said: “It’s really not right that people had to put themselves in that embarrassing position. There are only a handful of stops on intercity trains and for that long a journey it’s not okay to leave people without toilets.

“I understand there were working loos in the other half but that’s still not ideal.

“It does concern me that with the new models coming in with 12 carriages there are only meant to be five or so toilets. Trains used to have 18 – two sets at the end of each – on nine carriage trains.”

Derek Monnery from the Essex Rail Users Association said he had been contacted by frustrated commuters about the situation, which occurred on the 6.10pm service from London Liverpool Street to Norwich on Friday, May 19.

He said: “It’s just not acceptable at all.

“Why should people have to urinate in bottles because toilets are not working on a major public service.”

A Greater Anglia spokesman apologised for the “rare” incident.

They said: “We are very sorry that the toilets were unavailable in one section of the 18.10 service from Stratford on Friday 19 May.

“Because of disruption to services which left trains out of place, an alternative train was used to run the 6.10pm service rather than cancel it, but in one section of this train the toilets were unfortunately out of order.

“It is very rare for all toilets on a train to be out of order. If this happens, we decide whether to cancel the train or warn customers that the toilets are out of order.

They added: “Customer feedback is generally that they’d rather the train wasn’t cancelled.

“The train was 30 minutes late to its destination and was then taken out of service.

“We appreciate that it is distressing for a passenger unable to use a toilet because it is out of order and we apologise to anyone who has suffered as a result. However, we would like to reassure all customers that on an average day, only a very small percentage of our train toilets are out of order.”

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