Rail tunnel chaos fears allayed

By Mark HeathCOMMUTERS battling with replacement timetables and bus services while work is carried out on a major rail tunnel have faced few disruptions.

By Mark Heath

COMMUTERS battling with replacement timetables and bus services while work is carried out on a major rail tunnel have faced few disruptions.

The first working day since Ipswich tunnel was closed promised to be a major test of the reorganised train schedules - but it passed yesterday with no serious problems.

Buses carried London-bound passengers from Ipswich to Manningtree station in the morning, where they were able to continue their journey on the railway, before the same arrangements brought them home in the evening.


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The revised schedule will be in place for the next eight weeks while work to lower the track inside Ipswich tunnel - to allow larger freight containers to pass through - is completed.

Peter Meades, a spokesman for train operator One, said the longest delay faced by commuters had been just 20 minutes following a points failure.

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He added: “It went remarkably well and we haven't had any real problems. There were one or two slight delays, but nothing serious.

“I was at the station myself from 7am and everything seemed to be going well. The transfer from trains to buses went as we planned it and there were always sufficient buses to meet trains as they came in.

“The car park at Manningtree wasn't full this morning so people have certainly taken our advice as far as trying to minimise the number of cars at Manningtree and trying to avoid congestion.”

Mr Meades continued: “We'd certainly like to thank the passengers for their co-operation today - the pleasing thing was the fact that without fail everybody knew what was going on.

“Obviously, it's only the first day so we must not be complacent, but the feedback we've been getting is that it's gone very well.

“We will be monitoring everything pretty closely this week because we must be aware of the different travel patterns which emerge over the next few days. But if it goes as well as it has done today, then I think everybody will be very happy.”

mark.heath@eadt.co.uk

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