Rail chaos as fire erupts on tracks

RAIL users faced major disruption today after a fire broke out on the tracks near Ipswich.

RAIL users in Suffolk faced disruptions today after a fire broke out on the tracks near Ipswich.

Firefighters were called after reports that two wooden sleepers had caught alight at the side of the line near the level crossing on Westerfield Road in Westerfield.

It is believed engineers from Network Rail were carrying out maintenance work when the incident happened at around 4.30pm.

Two fire crews from Ipswich worked to contain the blaze and used a forklift truck to turn the one-ton sleepers so they could douse all parts of the wood.

Workers from Network Rail then used chainsaws and disc cutters to chop up the sleepers so any further hotspots inside the wood could be attacked.

National Express East Anglia was forced to cancel two services - the 17.27 from Ipswich to Felixstowe and the 17.56 return journey - as a result of the fire.

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Peter Meades, media manager for the rail company, apologised to customers for the disruption.

He said: “If there is a report of a line-side fire or something similar then we have to follow the guidance of Network Rail.

“It is unfortunate we have had to cancel two services but that was a consequence of the journeys being relatively short.”