Rail company 'sorry' for day of chaos

EAST Anglia's rail network has endured a day of chaos after the Easter break - echoing the problems suffered after the Christmas holidays.

Brad Jones

NETWORK Rail has apologised to rail passengers after a chaotic day on East Anglia's rail network.

Services on the main Norwich to London line have been severely delayed after signalling problems at Shenfield where Network Rail was carrying out Easter engineering work. The delays echoed those at New Year when commuters tried to return to work after the Christmas break and were faced with massive delays.

Trains from Ipswich were disrupted with short term cancellations and alterations. Trains are now running through to London Liverpool Street and services are returning to normal.

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “We apologise to our customers for this disruption which affected journeys this morning. We restored services as soon as possible following an early morning problem with the signalling system.”

The delays left many commuters angry.

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Jack Hedley left Colchester for Stratford at 5.43am but at 8pm he was still at Chelmsford station and decided to head back to Colchester.

“People were resigned to it given the New Year experience but it is unbelievable that they can mess up again,” he said. “The train was packed but everyone was pretty calm and the staff were helpful.”

Shirley Hurst, 59, of Christchurch Street, Ipswich, said: “It is ridiculous. They keep putting the rail fares up but the services don't seem to get any better.

“I had heard there were problems today so I came down early as I'm going to Chelmsford to visit my mum.

“I've told her I don't know when I'll get there because when I get to Chelmsford, I have to get a bus to her place and it's going to take ages.”

Train operator National Express apologised. Spokesman Jill Casswell said: “We are sorry. It is a Network Rail engineering issue.

The problems left Ipswich station overcrowded and many travellers waited at the station in the hope that travel conditions would improve.

“We would never turn people away but we have not got the room to put them all on the platform,” said Mrs Casswell.

Drivers were also affected by delays this morning with part of the A12 closed following a four car collision.

The London-bound stretch of road was shut at Witham after the accident at 7.15am but it had reopened by 8.15am.

One person has been taken to hospital with a back injury.

Drivers were also delayed after an accident on the A120 in Essex close to its junction with the A133 which left the road blocked.

The crash, during the rush hour, led to queues completely blocking the A133 slip road at Frating and long delays for motorists taking the alternative route into Colchester through Elmstead Market.

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