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Signal problems mean more rail misery

PUBLISHED: 10:05 14 November 2008 | UPDATED: 10:46 12 July 2010

Train services on the main Norwich to London Liverpool Street line were yesterday thrown into chaos following severe signalling problems in the Ilford area.

Train services on the main Norwich to London Liverpool Street line were yesterday thrown into chaos following severe signalling problems in the Ilford area.

Problems started during the morning peak, with the 8am from Norwich stuck at Shenfield for some considerable time. Delays of up to an hour were the norm, and a number of services had to be cancelled, resulting in rail misery for thousands of passengers who had to switch to buses as they battled to reach their destination.

There were no trains running between Ilford and London Liverpool Street for about four hours, and National Express East Anglia advised customers during the morning not to attempt to travel on any route in the area until later in the afternoon.

A shuttle bus service was introduced to ferry passengers between Shenfield and Gidea Park, and from Ilford to Liverpool Street. Those travelling between Ilford and Gidea Park were advised to use London Buses, London Underground or C2C services as an alternative.

One disgruntled passenger, travelling on the 8am from Norwich to London, said her journey was absolutely “dreadful”, with expected shuttle buses not available, and other bus services unable to cope with the demand from rail users.

“We were put off the train at Shenfield, and put on a train to Gidea Park and told that there would be a bus to take us to Romford where we could get another train. But when we got to Gidea Park there were no buses waiting and all the bus stops had a sign over them saying these are not in use,” she explained.

“We then walked a quarter of a mile to catch a bus to Romford and there were masses of people. The first three buses that came along couldn't cope with the queue and were full up.”

She finally arrived at Liverpool Street at 12.13pm - more than two hours late - after a further delay on the Romford train which was held up at Stratford.

A spokesman for National Express East Anglia admitted that the situation had been “pretty chaotic”, with all main line services affected by the signalling problem which was resolved at midday.

“Certainly our understanding is that the extent of the delay was up to two hours, but I cannot comment on personal experiences,” the spokesman added.

There was a knock on effect following the repairs, resulting in further delays as some trains were in the wrong position. Norwich to London services were restored to normal at 1.30pm, and most trains are reported to be running on time and at the usual frequency.


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