Tuesday October 18th was not a good day for passengers using Liverpool Street services after the overhead wires came down at around 5am near Bethnal Green.
Liverpool Street is one of the busiest stations in the UK and has an intensive commuter service running from the north east suburbs of London into the City. Long distance services from Norwich also provide links with Ipswich, Colchester and Chelmsford using Mark 3 stock and class 90 electric locomotives.
Trains arrived hours late after the incident which severely restricted the amount of tracks available for use between Stratford and Liverpool Street, the busiest section of line on the route. Most services were shown as cancelled on the departure board but a few were shown as running late, then removed from the board, such as the 0930 Norwich train. This eventually was reinstated and ran about an hour late throughout.
All Stanstead Express trains were shown as cancelled and passengers advised not to travel if possible as the delays were forecast to last all day. It is thought that over 100 trains were cancelled due to the incident.
Despite the disruption, the constant announcements concerning not smoking, leaving luggage unattended and next weekend’s engineering works were constantly being displayed when all that was wanted, was train running information.
It was said that workers were out in force repairing the damage but at about 1030hrs, only two rail staff were seen in the Bethnal Green area! Repairs were completed overnight on 18/19 October with the demands of MPs to see Network Rail about the incident.
Commuters also complained about the high price of fares, lack of communication and the low standard of service, all to be expected in such times!
The communication issue is being addressed and a code of practice should emerge on how to deal with information provision in times of disruption. It seems lessons from the past have been forgotten in today’s contract based railway operation!