Tree on track causes chaos

Thousands of rail passengers suffered major delays yesterday [Fri] after a fallen tree caused chaos on the East Coast Main Line.

Thousands of rail passengers suffered major delays yesterday [Fri] after a fallen tree caused chaos on the East Coast Main Line.

The tree, which fell on to overhead power lines in the High Dyke area, near Grantham, Lincolnshire, at about 2.30pm, brought the entire service to a stop and caused delays of between 60 and 90 minutes for people travelling to and from the North-East.

At Newcastle Central Station hundreds of delayed passengers complained of having had to wait more than an hour-and-a-half for their trains.

Sally Underwood, 37, from Gosforth, Newcastle, was travelling to London with her daughter Alexandra, 17, but they were left waiting at the station for more than an hour and a half. She said: "Our train was due to leave shortly after 6pm, but we were still at the station at 7.45pm with a long, journey ahead of us.

"We didn't know anything about the delays before we arrived, so we were really disappointed."

John Bryan, 41, an accountant, of Morpeth, Northumberland, said: "I got back to Newcastle more than two hours later than I was expecting.

"I know it's nobody's fault when a tree falls on a line, but there are an awful lot of people feeling exhausted and irritable, especially with the heat."

A GNER spokesman said: "GNER services between Grantham and Peterborough were disrupted yesterday due to overhead power line damage.

"Only a limited number of services were able to travel through this section and this caused significant disruption to the entire East Coast Main Line. GNER recommended passengers to reschedule their journeys at an alternate date if they were able to do so, but if this was not possible we advised people to turn up for their trains as usual.

"We lifted all ticket restrictions throughout the day to allow for passengers to use alternate trains and ran extra trains between Doncaster and Newcastle to help with delays.

"Network Rail engineers expected to resolve the problem by about 9pm last night and service should be back to normal today." [Sat]

A Network Rail spokesman said: "Our engineers were working all day to fix the overhead lines. There are three lines running in both directions at this centre of track and the tree took out two of them leaving only one line for trains coming from both directions to travel on."

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