Rail bosses admit poor performance

TRAIN bosses have admitted to falling performance on the railways on a day blighted by delays, cancellations and no air conditioning in the sweltering heat.

TRAIN bosses have admitted to falling performance on the railways on a day blighted by delays, cancellations and no air conditioning in the sweltering heat.

Numerous services between East Anglia and London Liverpool Street were cancelled or journeys were terminated early due to technical faults on the trains, which then held up other services throughout yesterday afternoon .

The rail chaos was exacerbated when problems with overhead wires between Shenfield and Chelmsford arose at about 12.45pm, which caused delays on the mainline of up to 45 minutes.

One train, the 5.12pm from London to Witham, also had to be cancelled due to staff shortages. A spokeswoman for train operator One said lengthy delays on the A12 at Colchester due to a lorry fire meant staff could not arrive for work on time.


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Meanwhile some passengers were arriving at Ipswich train station yesterday afternoon after suffering with soaring temperatures and no air conditioning.

Andrew Beaumont, from Southwold, was travelling on the 2.30pm train from London to Ipswich, which was delayed for 12 minutes.

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He said: “It's been hot. I've just been standing waiting. The air conditioning was only working in two carriages. Luckily I managed to stand near to the door.

“It's like a Third World state, quite frankly. There are better train services in Africa.”

Richard Flatman, from Ipswich, who was also on the 2.30pm service, said he was made late for a board meeting because three trains out of four from London Liverpool Street to the Suffolk town were cancelled.

He said the trains were a “complete disaster” all week and added: “It was absolutely unbearable. There are no windows that can open, as they are all supposed to be air conditioned. You can't rely on the trains anymore.”

Season ticket holder Alison Walcott, from Ipswich, said in a letter to One's customer service department: “During my travel from Ipswich to London and return last week, there were several problems and most of the trains were not air conditioned and were also severely overcrowded, as well as running late.

“We were informed last summer (2004) that air conditioning to all trains would be a priority but, as yet, nothing appears to have been achieved.”

In a letter to a disgruntled passenger, Tim Clarke, managing director of One, said the recent performance on the mainline had “not been anywhere near the standard I would expect.”

He apologised for this and said he and his team were working extremely hard with all its contractors to deal with the issues.

He added: “I am disappointed since my conversations with several of you some weeks ago that matters have not improved, in fact in some areas they have got worse, but that does not in any way demean our commitment to yourselves.”

A spokeswoman for the franchise added: “Our performance has been pretty bad over the last few weeks.”

She said its performance was affected by infrastructure problems, which are the responsibility of Network Rail, broken down trains and a high rate of suicides on the tracks.

One's performance figures for the four weeks to May 28, show 84.2% of trains on the mainline were punctual, below the target of 88%. Rural routes had 87.3% punctuality.

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