Cancellations and delays leave rail passengers sweating
Rail travel this week has been greatly disrupted after hot weather and a track-side fire near Ipswich left train users struggling to make journeys across the East Anglian rail network for two days.
Around midday on Monday a fire caused damage to signalling equipment between Ipswich and Colchester, resulting in cancellations and congestion at stations on one of the hottest days of the year in the region so far.
Delays for the signalling issue continued into Tuesday when continued hot weather left trains running at reduced speeds across the network.
Commuters part of the 2000-strong Anglia Rail Users Group made their concerns heard online.
Kim May said: “My daughter only has to go from Burnham-on-Crouch to Billericay, but I can’t plan any morning appointments in case I need to get her to work, and I can’t plan to cook dinner until she has got a train home in case I have to pick her up.”
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Jodee Jones’ nephew was left unable to travel on the mainline when he tried to visit her in London on Tuesday.
Ms Jones, 38, who works near Barbican station, said: “My nephew was due to come to London on Tuesday from Kelvedon. He was there for the 12.23pm train which was cancelled and the 1.23pm train was delayed.
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“I asked him to go into the station to see if they had any information - the lady told him it could possibly be an hour and half delay but they had not been told anything.
“Her only suggestion was to get to Shenfield, but he is a 16 year old boy with both is parents at work and I’m in London.”
There was appreciation for the staff at some stations, with two commuters thanking employees at Wickford station for handing out water to passengers in the heat.
Waiting for a train at Ipswich on Tuesday afternoon was Ed Ballard, a musician travelling from London to Little Blakenham to visit his family.
The 12.05pm service had been cancelled and he was waiting for the next train at 12.50pm.
Mr Ballard said: “It’s not good and it’s very expensive - it’s a neglected part of the rail network.
“My work takes me across the continent and the distance you can travel for the cost of a ticket to Liverpool Street in Europe is insane.”
A Greater Anglia spokesman said: “Trains have been disrupted between Colchester and Ipswich after a fire damaged signalling equipment on Monday afternoon.
“As a result of the damaged signalling, we have had to run fewer trains on the line.
“Network Rail engineers are on site, working to fix the signalling equipment.
“We apologise for the delays and inconvenience caused.”
Greater Anglia have ongoing cancellations until the end of rail service tonight, Tuesday August 7.