Commuters stuck on train for five hours
SCORES of rail commuters were trapped on a train for more than five hours last night in an evening of travel chaos in East Anglia.Problems with overhead lines in the Hatfield Peverel area caused delays of up to 80 minutes for trains carrying commuters between Suffolk and London.
SCORES of rail commuters were trapped on a train for more than five hours last night in an evening of travel chaos in East Anglia.
Problems with overhead lines in the Hatfield Peverel area caused delays of up to 80 minutes for trains carrying commuters between Suffolk and London.
But one train caught at the forefront of the problems, the 5.50pm service from Liverpool Street, took more than five hours to reach Ipswich.
Dismayed passengers voiced their anger last night, while train operator One apologised for the problems and assured engineers would work overnight with Network Rail to try and get services back to normal for this morning.
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Meanwhile, there was further travel chaos in the region when the M11 in Essex was closed for several hours between junctions eight and nine after a serious crash in which one person is believed to have died.
The fault on the London mainline was first reported at 6.30pm and rail users faced lengthy disruption while engineers tried to fix the problem.
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The 5.50pm train from London to Norwich was still stuck at Hatfield Peverel at 10pm last night and was scheduled to arrive at Ipswich at 11.15pm.
A spokesman for One apologised for the delay but said it happened because the train was trapped on the side of the faulty wire, meaning it had to be dragged into another position before it could get going again.
Liz Harrison, from Needham Market, who works for an insurance broker in London, was one of the unlucky passengers on the 5.50pm service.
She said conditions became very uncomfortable, but fed up commuters got through the ordeal by keeping their sense of humour.
Air conditioning was turned off most of the five hours, she said, although free soft drinks were handed out by One staff.
She added: “The thing that gets to everybody is the lack of organisation when things go wrong. It [One] never seems to have a plan in place. That is what people are angry about.”
Jack Hedley, who was on the 6.10pm service out of Liverpool Street and did not get home to Colchester until 9.45pm, said: “It was diabolical. We came to a stop just after Chelmsford and waited about 30 minutes before reversing back into the station.
“We were told to get off the train and by this time the platform was absolutely packed - about six people deep. To cut a long story short we were eventually herded on and moved out of Chelmsford only to stop about two miles later for an hour-and-a-quarter.
“The train was so packed you couldn't sit down and some people didn't even have anything to hang on to. Some lads even forced the electric doors open just to get some fresh air inside.
“The least they could have done was put on an alternative form of transport but unfortunately it's what we've come to expect for £4,000 a year - to be treated like cattle.”
Rail staff were handing out compensation claim forms to commuters who had been affected by the delays so they could claim money back.
A spokesman for the rail company said: “Engineers will be doing everything they can overnight to try and mend the fault and we hope things will be back to normal by the morning but there could be a knock on effect if we haven't got our trains in the right position.”
Meanwhile emergency services in south Essex were called into action at around 7pm following a serious four vehicle accident on the M11 between junctions eight and nine.
The motorway was closed for several hours while accident specialists investigated the cause of the crash, in which one person is believed to have been killed and four more injured.
It was not expected to open again until 11.30pm at the earliest.