HomeTravelRail chaos as new train timetables take effect

Rail chaos as new train timetables take effect

On the day that new rail timetables took effect nationwide, thousands of travellers endured long delays and cancellations due to a points failure on the East Coast main line and staff shortages elsewhere.

Many trains cut during the coronavirus pandemic have been reinstated under the latest national rail schedules that took effect on Sunday. The East Coast main line has the most prominent new and restored services.

But on the first afternoon of the timetable, dozens of trains on the line linking London King’s Cross with Yorkshire, northeast England and Scotland were delayed or cancelled following a points failure at Newark in Nottinghamshire.

Most LNER inter-city trains from early afternoon were delayed by an hour or more, with some over two hours late.

Lumo, the new “open access” operator between Edinburgh and London, added an extra train from Sunday – but passengers faced delays of up to two hours. Grand Central and Hull Trains cancelled or curtailed several services.

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “We’re very sorry to passengers affected by disruption caused by a points failure at Newark Northgate.

“Initially the points were obstructed by a large amount of ballast, but once this was cleared, a further fault was discovered.

“In an effort to keep delays to individual passengers to a minimum, our onsite teams worked to fix the fault in between train service movements.

“The fault was fixed at 4.39pm and we’d like to thank those passengers that were impacted for their patience as we have worked to get services back to normal.”

Delays continued until after midnight, but have not affected Monday’s services on the line – which include the first direct Middlesbrough-London train since 1990.

The Department for Transport said the once-a-day link will provide “better connections for workers and a major lift for tourism”.

From today, TransPennine Express has launched improved services on the East Coast main line – but is telling passengers “services across our network over the coming days may be subject to delays and short-notice cancellations” due to staff shortages.

“We are doing all we can to keep you on the move and, as ever, our aim is to provide you with a stable and reliable service as we know you put your faith in TransPennine Express to get you where you need to be,” the train operator said.

“If a service you had planned to travel on does not operate, your ticket will be valid on the next available TransPennine Express service.

“Your TransPennine Express tickets will be valid for travel on Avanti West Coast and Northern for most services but please speak to a member of staff on the day.”

Elsewhere on the network, many trains have been cancelled because of crew isolating.

ScotRail said it “continues to be affected by the rapid spread of coronavirus and the omicron variant, which is causing cancellation of services, mainly across central Scotland”.

Passengers are told: “Although the majority of services are expected to run as scheduled, we would strongly advise all ScotRail customers to check your journey before travelling. Trains may be cancelled or revised.”

Lines serving Wick and Kyle of Lochalsh are closed, with ScotRail saying: “Due to forecasted high winds, lines in the Dingwall area will be closed today to allow safety inspections of the track to be carried out.”

Between Newquay and the GWR mainline at Par, no trains are running because of a shortage of available rolling stock.

The Gatwick Express has returned after a closure lasting 20 months, with nonstop services between London Victoria and the Sussex airport.

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