1. One of the mainline class 90's (90013 for the interested) somehow managed to lose its pantograph between Chelmsford and Hatfield Peveral yesterday afternoon. That blocked the line in both directions for the evening peak and there were delays of up to 3 hours. A lot of people just didn't get home.......
2. ......Which they may now seem as a blessing in disguise as a signal meltdown between Bethnal Green and Liverpool St meant that nothing could get in or out of Liverpool St this morning and trains were being terminated and/or cancelled all over the place.
3. A person was hit by a train this afternoon at Weeley, causing the line between Colchester and Clacton to be closed. It has just come through that the 1500 Norwich to Liverpool St will run fast from Colchester to Liv St due to a fault on the train.So anyone wanting Chelmsford or Stratford will have to change at Colchester now. That will be good if you have taken the trouble to book tickets.
4. The last two nights the 1900 Norwich - Lowestoft and the 1955 return journey have been cancelled due to another fault - this time with the short set's new coaches and the central locking system.
Now this is not a go at Greater Anglian. Well not all of it. For those who don't know about the intricacies of the Railway it basically boils down to this - if it moves it belongs to the operating company - ie Greater Anglia, so that means rolling stock and staff. If it doesn't it belongs to Network Rail - the infrastructure including tracks, signals, stations etc. Greater Anglia pay Network Rail to use the tracks. If there is a delay down to train faults then Greater Anglia pay a fine to Network Rail. If the signals go pop then Network Rail compensate Greater Anglia. There are teams of people whose sole job is to analyse delays and apportion blame.
Of course there are grey areas, and yesterday's incidernt is one of them. If the pantograph on 90013 was damaged due to poor maintenance, a bolt coming loose or something that was the fault of the loco then the fine for GA will be eyewatering. If there was something wrong with the overhead power lines, be it debris placed by vandals or anything else then Network rail will foot the bill.
|Liverpool St last night. Not a pretty picture.|
Excuse me but isn't there meant to have been massive investment in signalling, overhead power lines etc? Can anyone a generation older than me remember as many failures when all signals were controlled by individual signal boxes with signals operated by cables not computers? How many level crossings got stuck (as the one at Ingatestone does all too often) when they had gates operated by men on site not a button pressed 50 miles away? I never had a slam door train taken out of service because of door failure but many sliding door trains.
Just like my gripe with modern buses not being built to the same standard as the past the so-called modern railway isn't providing any noticeable signs of improvement either. As I type the 1810 Liv St - Norwich won't be an intercity set tonight, so reduced toilets and 1st class, and no catering or wifi. Will the regular passengers on that service be compensated? Not a chance. Until managers are forced to travel to work by train and have their pay docked if they are late nothing will change. The total apathy in top rail management is staggering, and it's the poor sods on the platforms, trains and call centres that take all the flack and abuse. It doesn't matter how many times the franchises change hands it's the same faceless people at the top. We have been promised change and improvements for decades. It's about time we saw it. When the rail network runs smoothly there is truly no better way to travel. Sadly it seems that even now, 14 years into the 21st century, there are far more days when it doesn't, than when it does.