No end in sight to rail problems

SEVERE delays are set hit commuters hard again this morning after a freight train derailed on the East Anglian mainline, damaging the track.

SEVERE delays are set hit commuters hard again this morning after a freight train derailed on the East Anglian mainline, damaging the track.

National Express East Anglia has warned of severe disruption, delays and a possible reduced service after the derailment near Marks Tey at about 2pm yesterday.

The incident involved the Daventry to Felixstowe freight train and nobody was thought to be injured.

By 10pm last night officials from the Rail Accident Investigation Branch had still not finished their investigation. This resulted in the line not being handed over to Network Rail for repair work to start.


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A spokesman for National Express East Anglia said: “We are planning on the assumption that only one track will be open in the morning and if that is the case then there will clearly be disruption and delays for passengers and a possible reduced service.”

Following the derailment no trains were able to get through and buses were drafted in to take frustrated passengers from Witham to Colchester. By early evening one line was opened up but this led to a backlog of trains and had a severe impact on journeys.

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The latest incident capped a miserable week for commuters following problems with overhead power lines on Monday, with more trouble on Wednesday when engineers were injured while carrying out repair work.

The National Express East Anglia spokesman said: “From our point of view we apologise for the significant problems that have been suffered and recognise that it has been an extremely difficult week. We are very disappointed that we have not been able to provide a service that we wish to offer and we have done all we can to mitigate the effects of these unfortunate and very difficult incidents.”

Essex County Council announced, before the derailment, that it wanted “urgent talks” with rail bosses after repeated delays left commuters struggling to get to and from work.

Norman Hume, the council's cabinet member for highways and transportation, offered sympathy to the injured workers, but added: “I am disappointed that commuters in Essex have been left suffering in these miserable conditions.

“Already I have heard some terrible stories of commuters suffering at stations and on trains as they try to get to and from work.

“Although I accept these works were of an emergency nature rather than planned, I will be looking to find out the causes from Network Rail and asking whether commuters have been given the best service possible as they tried to carry out their journeys.”

Passengers are advised to check their travel arrangements by calling National Rail Enquiries on 08457 48 49 50 or by logging on to www.nationalrail.co.uk.

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