More than 300 trains had long delays on main line through East Anglia
- Credit: Archant
More than 300 trains were delayed on the Great Eastern Main Line between London, Ipswich and Norwich by 30 minutes or more according to a Freedom of Information request submitted to Network Rail.
The cause of the single largest number of delays was recorded as “external fatality and trespass.” A total of 51 trains on the main line were delayed by these – although most incidents led to several individual trains. A fatality at Ingatestone on September 21 delayed eight trains for more than 30 minutes.
Of the 305 train delays, 61 were deemed to be caused by passenger operator Greater Anglia with problems with its trains or staffing issues. A further 13 were caused by other rail operators – freight trains or London Overground services – and 231 were the responsibility of Network Rail.
These included problems with track, signalling, points and with overhead electric wires.
Network Rail area director Steve Hooker some problems were weather-related. If ballast underneath track got wet after a long dry period it could move slightly and put strain on the tracks.
And there were also weather-related issues with overhead wires. He said: “The work that is being done is helping to reduce the number of problems we are having with that. I think this year’s figures will be better than those in earlier years.”
The number of fatalities on the track remains a concern – but Network Rail and train company staff have been given training to try to identify vulnerable people.
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That has had some success – although the number of fatalities is still too high. In 2015/16 the number of deaths on the region’s rail network was 47 with five people suffering injuries. In 2016/17 there were 32 deaths with three injuries.
A spokeswoman for Greater Anglia said the figures should be seen in the context that company runs 1,684 trains a week on the line – more than 80,000 a year.
She added: “We’re working with Network Rail to improve the railway in East Anglia so that it is fit for future generations. Last year 20 per cent of delays over 30 minutes on the Great Eastern Mainline were attributed to Greater Anglia. We’re spending £5 million on making our existing trains more reliable.
“Last month, they won a Golden Spanner for their work on Intercity trains, which are the most reliable of their age and class in the country. We’re spending £1.4 billion on new trains which will start to come into service from 2019.”
What caused the delays?
These are some of the causes of delays of more than 30 minutes to trains on the Great Eastern Main Line:
Fatalities and trespass: 51
Overhead line faults: 20
Points failures: 17
Over-running engineering work: 3
Signalling issues: 30
Technical problems with Greater Anglia trains: 40
Other Greater Anglia problems: 21
Track problems, including broken rails: 41
Track circuit failures: 16
Severe weather: 14
Bridge strikes: 10