Train delays in first half of month amount to 18,000 minutes - in that time you could walk to London and back six times

An Abellio Greater Anglia train at Colchester

An Abellio Greater Anglia train at Colchester - Credit: Archant

It’s just not good enough, rail bosses have been told as it emerged passengers have endured more than 18,000 minutes of delays in the first fortnight of December.

The region’s ancient infrastructure, overrunning engineering works and faulty trains accounted for the majority of hold-ups, which continued yesterday with chaotic scenes across East Anglia.

The figures for the Great Eastern Main Line, which were requested from Network Rail by Norwich MP, Chloe Smith, were condemned by passengers groups and politicians.

As the Government committed to long term investment in the line, and new carriages, in the Autumn Statement on December 3, passengers continued to endure long delays.

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer said: “It is exasperating. It emphasises why we need investment in the line so badly and we need to make sure it is spent so it does not cause more disruption.

“Network Rail still needs to prove itself. It has got a lot more work to do to prove it is capable of running the railway. It is extremely frustrating we are back in this situation again.

“The railway is under tremendous pressure - we have more trains running than before and more people. We are having to cope with a lack of investment going back 50 years. This prevents a series of challenges. But that is not an excuse for the poor performance on a number of occasions.”

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Earlier this month the Government also announced that the cost of a rail season ticket could rise by up to 2.5pc from January 2.

Although the January 2015 rise for regulated fares is capped, unregulated fares, such as off-peak leisure tickets, can go up by as much as the train companies like.

David Sidebottom, Passenger Focus director, said: “Passengers tell us that punctual trains are what they want most from the railway. Recently passengers travelling on the East Anglia to Liverpool Street route have faced a number of delays, so it is essential that Network Rail steps up its efforts to improve reliability and quickly fix problems when they do occur.

“Also, when services are disrupted the industry must work really hard to give passengers plenty of notice and to be on hand to provide them with help and information.”

Chloe Smith said: “I asked for these figures so that we could be clear on the problems that still happen day to day. It has been very important to set out what we need in the long term to fix our rail services and the campaign that I have led had done that and has secured a commitment to improvement. But passengers, of course, want the daily problems put right.”