'A backward step' - Fewer trains cause long delays for Greater Anglia passengers

Greater Anglia Intercity train

Passengers could face a long wait at Ipswich station for a connecting service. - Credit: John Day

Rail passengers heading from rural stations to London are facing long delays after Greater Anglia scrapped connecting services at Ipswich station.

This means that some passengers from stations on the East Suffolk Line are facing a 39-minute wait at Ipswich station because their connecting services were scrapped as part of the cutbacks because of the Covid pandemic.

Ian Harvie, who lives near Woodbridge, said he had considered travelling to London to see friends, but felt the journey would be too difficult.

He said: "I normally travel from Melton station. The current timetable gets me from London at 19.00 arriving at Melton at 20.36 in 96 minutes. From 16 May I have to wait at London an extra 30 minutes for the 19.30 arriving at Melton at 21.36 in more than two hours - plus the 30 minutes extra in London.

"That is not such an attractive journey and a real backwards step for the East Suffolk Line."

Greater Anglia said the timetables had been changed when the number of trains were reduced because of the advice to people not to use public transport.

A spokeswoman said: "Due to the reduced intercity service timetable, which is currently hourly, connection times are longer than normal for routes such as Ipswich to Lowestoft – and they have been since we reduced our timetable last year.

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"This is not going to alter in the upcoming May timetable change. However we’re closely monitoring passenger numbers and it could be that in the coming months we reinstate full service on the Intercity route, just as we have already reinstated our regional timetable in full.

"We’ll keep customers updated with any further changes to the timetable. We’re very sorry to any customers inconvenienced by longer journey times as a result."

Greater Anglia is currently operating 82% of its normal timetable - but at present there are only a third of the pre-pandemic numbers of passengers. 

It is being supported by the Department of Transport to keep trains running and there is extra cleaning of trains and stations. All passengers are required to wear face coverings on stations or trains unless they have a legitimate exemption.