Commuters miss World Cup match

THOUSANDS of commuters from Suffolk and Essex missed part of England's televised clash with Sweden last night after being held up on crowded trains.A number of services were cancelled and others delayed by more than an hour-and-a-half after a fault was reported on overhead lines in the Witham area at about 6pm.

THOUSANDS of commuters from Suffolk and Essex missed part of England's televised clash with Sweden last night after being held up on crowded trains.

A number of services were cancelled and others delayed by more than an hour-and-a-half after a fault was reported on overhead lines in the Witham area at about 6pm.

Network Rail engineers worked through the night to repair the problem, although it was set to cause further delays to commuters this morning.

Tim Meston, who was among those held up last night, took extreme measures to ensure he and some of his fellow passengers were updated on developments in Germany.


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“I phoned my girlfriend and asked her to put her mobile to the radio so we could hear some commentary,” said the 34-year-old from Ipswich.

“Then I put my phone on speaker phone so everyone could hear it. I think some people were wondering what sort of technology we were using but it was quite simple. Most people seemed to like it.

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“It's typical this happens on the night of an England game. I couldn't have cared less if it had happened the night before.”

Mr Meston said One had handed out water to passengers and the train conductor had provided regular updates on the situation.

Fellow commuter Michael West's journey took an hour-and-a-half longer than it should have done.

The 67-year-old, of Coddenham, said: “There were a lot of anxious phone calls being made but a lot of people were resigned to be delayed and missing the game.

“It was pretty warm in the carriages. I think everyone will be claiming for compensation. I think more could've been done to get the people on the busiest trains through the area quicker.”

A spokeswoman for One apologised to commuters caught up in the problems.

She said: “It caused huge delays to our services. We tried to keep services moving through the area but they had to go slowly. For a time it was at a complete standstill.

“Network Rail worked to fix the problem as quickly as possible but there were lengthy delays that were likely to go into Wednesday morning.”

The spokeswoman said the cause of the problem was unknown.

mark.bulstrode@eadt.co.uk

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