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Rail commuters 'fed up with paying high prices for a deteriorating service', says MP

PUBLISHED: 17:27 03 January 2019 | UPDATED: 17:27 03 January 2019

Priti Patel is concerned about the train service commuters received at New Year. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Priti Patel is concerned about the train service commuters received at New Year. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Archant

"Fed up" commuters who have just seen ticket prices rise want to see improvements to their service, an MP has said after a day of rail delays.

Witham MP Priti Patel, who is also chairman of the Great Eastern Mainline Taskforce, set the challenge for Network Rail and Greater Anglia after a track defect meant many services across Essex were disrupted on Wednesday.

Services were then further suspended after a person was hit by a train in the same area.

Ms Patel said she was concerned by the delays and how the operators dealt with the issues.

She said: “For a number of commuters, yesterday will have been their first day back to work after the Christmas period and this disruption, coupled with the rail fares increase, will leave a bitter taste for many passengers.

“When the railway line is regularly closed on the weekends for engineering and maintenance work, passengers are understandably questioning why infrastructure failures such as track defects and signal failures are an all too common occurrence and regularly delaying their journeys.

“Commuters in my constituency are fed up with paying high prices for a deteriorating service and want to see some real improvements to their service.

“I have also questioned both over the immediate actions they will be implementing to improve train punctuality and reliability for passengers.”

A spokesman for Greater Anglia said: “We are sorry some customers were affected by disruption. We worked with Network Rail to minimise the disruption.

“We’re investing £23million to improve the performance of our existing trains, which will help our engineers make them as reliable as possible, until they are replaced by our brand new trains.”

Network Rail said it closed one set of tracks at Seven Kings to allow trains to travel on a diversionary route.

The fatality occurred on the diversion route, blocking both routes.

A spokesman for Network Rail said: “We do realise that performance needs to improve that’s why we have had this work over Christmas and New Year. This track fault was outside of these works.

“We are always looking at ways to improve both in a way to prevent this happening in the first place but also improve our response time.”

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