No wonder the vast majority want to renationalise the railways.

James certainly found out the hard way.

From 2023:

















We hope James got there and is safe and well. However, whether he had to walk from Carlisle to Edinburgh is any one’s guess.

Nothing appears to have improved since this report in 2013:

Around 350 travellers aboard the 11 am East Coast service departing from King’s Cross experienced a significant delay less than an hour into their journey on Monday. The disruption occurred when overhead power lines came down just north of Peterborough.

Unfortunately, a rescue locomotive was brought in to tow the train northward but encountered a breakdown at Dunbar. Consequently, passengers eventually arrived in Edinburgh at 10:41 pm, a staggering seven hours behind schedule.

This incident, which resulted in overhead wires collapsing across all four tracks over approximately half a mile, had a cascading effect, impacting more than 30,000 passengers traveling on the East Coast Main Line. Nearly 90 East Coast trains had to be canceled as a result.

The delays continued into the following day as engineers worked tirelessly to make necessary repairs.

Frustrated passengers took to Twitter to voice their grievances. One passenger, Matthew Brown from Edinburgh, tweeted, “Spent 9 and a half hours on @eastcoastuk train. And it breaks down. SEND HELP.” Another passenger, Gemma Watson, inquired, “Is there any food, drink, or toilet roll making its way to the 11 am train? #frustrated #hungry #sweaty #tired #stick-yourrefund.” Stefan Ward from Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, shared, “11:00 Kings Cross to Edinburgh only just arriving into Edinburgh a whopping 8 hours late. Ouch.”

By the time some passengers reached Dunbar, there were only 12 bottles of water to share among them.

Network Rail, responsible for the tracks, stated that the overhead wires’ failure seemed to be linked to an inherent design issue that was not detectable. The issue was traced to weaknesses in wire joints.

Phil Verster, the managing director of the London and North East route, apologised, saying, “We can only apologise for the incident. Our engineering teams are working to recover services as quickly as possible.”

The train operator, East Coast, expressed frustration over this being the third major incident on the line in eight months.

Karen Boswell, the managing director, said, “This incident has been extremely frustrating for our customers, and I want to say sorry to everyone whose journey was delayed, or who was inconvenienced. This is the latest in a series of incidents related to the infrastructure on the line – and currently overhead line failures are the biggest cause of delays.”

An East Coast spokesperson explained, “The most severely delayed train, the 11 am London King’s Cross to Edinburgh service, was passing Tallington at the moment when the overhead power lines failed. A rescue locomotive was attached to the train, and as soon as Network Rail cleared the line, the service resumed its journey north. Unfortunately, the hired-in locomotive also failed at Dunbar and a replacement had to be brought from Edinburgh to enable the train to complete its journey, some 7 hours and 20 minutes behind schedule.”

Notably, East Coast services faced significant disruptions in August when two miles of wires came down near Retford in Nottinghamshire and in February when a kilometer of overhead power lines collapsed onto tracks at St Neots in Cambridgeshire.

These issues with overhead power lines have played a substantial role in East Coast’s struggle with punctuality, making it one of the least punctual train services in Britain.

Corporate Britain is alive and well.

Douglas James

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