Passengers on Norwich to London line stuck at Stowmarket for nearly two hours after delays

Nearly 200 passengers were stuck at Stowmarket station for hours. Photo: Chris Brown. ANL-160726-113721001

Nearly 200 passengers were stuck at Stowmarket station for hours. Photo: Chris Brown. ANL-160726-113721001

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Nearly 200 people were stuck at Stowmarket station for more than two hours after delays on the London to Norwich line on Thursday.

Regular rail user Chris Brown of Denton, who runs Mancroft Communications, was on the 5.50pm London Liverpool Street to Norwich service on Thursday — but did not return to Diss until 11.30pm, eventually getting a taxi from Stowmarket.

Nearly 200 passengers were stuck at Stowmarket station for hours. Photo: Chris Brown. ANL-160726-113732001

Nearly 200 passengers were stuck at Stowmarket station for hours. Photo: Chris Brown. ANL-160726-113732001

He said he had already been held up for nearly 70 minutes at Colchester on his route back to Norfolk, due to tracks being bent on a roasting hot day.

But when their train arrived at Stowmarket at about 8.30pm, they were informed, following some initial mixed messages, that a tree was obstructing some overhead lines, and that no further trains would be running.

A number of taxis were ordered by Abellio. But Mr Brown, who pays around £180 for his weekly rail ticket to the capital, said of the first eight that arrived, only one was heading to Diss.

“They said they ordered 25 taxis but in the following hour, only one arrived,” he said.

They said they ordered 25 taxis but in the following hour, only one arrived

Mr Brown, who described Abellio’s service as normally “good”, said he eventually split the cost of a taxi with three others, ordering it by their own accord, at a cost of £40. He said he will be able to claim back his rail fare and the cost of the taxi.

“I think they problem was they lack of communication. They kept saying one thing, and then the situation would change. It was very confused.”

A spokesperson for Abellio Greater Anglia said they would like to “sincerely apologise” to any affected passengers.

An Abellio spokesperson said: “Services were cancelled and severely delayed from 4.30pm until the end of service.

“Mainline services were affected by a buckled rail at Colchester, a tree on the line near Diss, and a speed restriction which was imposed by Network Rail. Engineers worked to fix the problems as quickly as possible, however this did result in lengthy delays for many passengers.

“Alternative transport was organised where available, however we could only source a limited number of buses and taxis. One line between Norwich Diss reopened at 10.10pm so trains were able to run at a slower speed; no passengers were stranded.

“We worked closely with Network Rail during the disruption and were in constant communication.”