More chaos on the railway

COMMUTERS faced more rail chaos last night after a woman fell into the path of an oncoming train near Chelmsford - leaving her critically injured and services halted for more than an hour.

COMMUTERS faced more rail chaos last night after a woman fell into the path of an oncoming train near Chelmsford - leaving her critically injured and services halted for more than an hour.

The incident on the main Norwich to London line during yesterday's rush hour came after a fortnight of problems on the lines referred to by one rail campaigner as “the worst two weeks of rail travel in recent years”.

Officers from British Transport Police were called to reports of a woman falling into the path of train just outside Chelmsford at 4.30pm.

A spokesman for Essex Ambulance Service said last night that the woman, in her late 40s or early 50s, was fighting for her life in Broomfield Hospital after suffering a massive head injury as a result of the fall.


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It led to delays of up to 90 minutes and cancelled services on the Liverpool Street to Norwich line.

Earlier yesterday, at 9.15am, a 60-year-old woman fell in front of an oncoming train at Wickford in Essex. She was taken to Basildon Hospital with serious injuries. A police spokesman said neither incident was suspicious.

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As rail managers tried to keep services going for the Friday night rush hour, passengers faced horrendous delays.

Manningtree Rail Users' Association spokesman Neil Skinner said: “It has been horrific. This has to be the worst two weeks on the rails in recent years.

“There have been so many things going wrong and much of it is not One's fault.

“This week alone we've had overhead wires come down and two line side fires, both of which caused train services to be stopped while they were dealt with.”

The overhead lines came down on Monday night in London, there was a fire beside the track on Tuesday evening in Manningtree and there was another fire just outside London on Thursday night.

On each occasion, trains were stopped while the incidents were dealt with.

He said passengers on November 24 encountered a number of separate incidents including a passenger being taken ill at Colchester and train failures at Shenfield and then Witham.

John Smock, chairman of Ontrack Rail Users' Association, said: “It is very difficult to prevent things like this. We are done for really in terms of the fact that there are no alternative routes on a two-track rail system. It is just very sad and it is very upsetting for the drivers.”

Kerry Howard, spokeswoman for One, said after the second incident there had been no trains running for about an hour-and-a-half.

“This will have meant people being severely delayed,” she said.

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