More misery for rail passengers heading to Sudbury and Felixstowe

There are still no passenger trains running to Felixstowe because of problems with the track.

There are still no passenger trains running to Felixstowe because of problems with the track. - Credit: Archant

Passengers hoping to catch trains to or from Felixstowe and Sudbury are facing another week of misery with buses replacing trains yet again.

And yesterday problems spread – services between Ipswich and Cambridge were seriously disrupted after another diesel unit suffered problems.

Abellio Greater Anglia is facing a real crisis among its diesel fleet – last week at one time 10 out of its 26 diesel units was out of service. It needs 21 to be operational to run a full service.

The problem is caused by wheels slipping on wet track covered by wheel mulch. Slipped wheels go out of alignment and need to have new steel tyres fitted on a specialist lathe – the only one in East Anglia is at Ilford.

Rail services on the two short branch lines are the first to be affected, because they are the easiest routes to cover by substitute buses – but yesterday after another unit broke down with an unrelated problem trains on the Cambridge line were also cancelled.

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A statement from the rail company said: “On average we are currently seeing two trains arrive back at the end of each day with wheel damage, more than double the rate we have experienced in previous autumn periods.

“We are doing everything possible to repair the trains affected as fast as we can and we are working with Network Rail to try and improve rail conditions to try and prevent further damage.

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“We hope that the situation should improve over the course of this week and that we will be able to eliminate these cancellations and restore the normal service.

“In the meantime, we are seeking to minimise the impact of the disruption by providing bus replacement services wherever practical to cover for the cancelled train services.”

A spokesman for the company said it was not possible to say when all services would be restored – but the worst of the leaf falls should soon be over which would ease the problems on the track.

Teacher Steve Ransom uses the Felixstowe route to travel from his home at Trimley to Derby Road. He said: “It seems to me that our service is the first to be affected whenever there is any kind of issue.

“What concerns me is that this is that this ‘disruption’ will eventually lead to the withdrawal of all passenger services to Felixstowe.

“If people make alternative arrangements during an extended disruption, why should they change back when the disruption is over? Any fall in passenger numbers can then be used to justify scrapping the service.”

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