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Another week, more cancellations on Greater Anglia’s East Suffolk Line

PUBLISHED: 16:30 20 January 2020

The new trains on the East Suffolk Line are still causing problems. Picture: PAUL GEATER

The new trains on the East Suffolk Line are still causing problems. Picture: PAUL GEATER

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Passengers trying to travel on Greater Anglia’s East Suffolk Line faced more peak-time problems on Monday morning as the busiest train of the day was cancelled . . . again!

The 7.27am from Lowestoft, which is due to arrive in Ipswich at 8.56am, was cancelled on four out of five days last week and again on Monday morning.

It is believed to be the busiest train on the route and is popular with workers from offices near Ipswich station and picks up travellers from stations like Woodbridge, Saxmundham and Halesworth.

Other services did run on Monday, but Greater Anglia chiefs were left red-faced because they had told passengers last week that they hoped to be able to run a full, reliable, service on all routes after the crisis that hit regional trains before Christmas.

The Ipswich to Peterborough service was fully restored for the first time this year and other routes out of Ipswich did run smoothly.

Greater Anglia head of corporate affairs Jonathan Denby said Greater Anglia had been looking at how it was dealing with technical issues with its new trains and had expected things to be better this week.

It had engineers based at major stations like Ipswich and Norwich so they were immediately at hand if any issues showed up on the new trains.

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But the problem on Monday morning was something that was found to be wrong with the train at Norwich's Crown Point depot and it was not possible to fix it before it was sent on its first journey of the day to Lowestoft before forming the Ipswich train.

There was no other train available to fill the gap, he added: "Last week we had a good look at all the issues and we really hoped to get off on the right foot today but this was something that could not have been foreseen. We are very sorry for the inconvenience to our passengers. We really want to get a good, reliable service running."

The problems on the line have prompted Suffolk County Council to summons Greater Anglia bosses to a scrutiny meeting in the spring, and will be brought up when Ipswich MP Tom Hunt and Suffolk Coastal's Dr Therese Coffey meet teams from GA and Network Rail on Thursday.

Mr Hunt said: "Although my constituents tend not to be affected by those problems on the East Suffolk Line, it is a problem for businesses in the town. And we are trying to make Ipswich an attractive place to do business. That will not happen if the rail service is unreliable."

East Suffolk council is also concerned about the problems on the route that runs through the spine of the district.

Norman Brooks, cabinet member for transport, said: "The ongoing disruption to travellers on the Ipswich to Lowestoft line is affecting huge numbers of people in East Suffolk who rely on a rail service they can trust.

"As a council committed to attracting visitors and business to the region, an efficient public transport network is critically important and a reliable alternative to driving also has huge environmental benefits.

"We welcome the new and modern fleet of trains, however customers really should expect any teething problems to now be resolved and we are disappointed that these issues don't appear to be going away."

There is, however, one piece of good news. The first Intercity train to enter service 10 days ago has worked every weekday since its introduction on the line from Norwich and Ipswich to London without any problems to take it out of service. The second is expected to join it in service "very soon" according to Greater Anglia.


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