Update from Network Rail: Disruption to train services to and from Liverpool Street this week

Train services to and from Liverpool Street have been disrupted on a number of occasions over the last week. Network Rail have been in touch to issue an apology to passengers at the station and via its train operating colleagues, and wanted to set out what went wrong, and what has been done to put it right. This is what Network Rail has said:

"At around 0300 on Tuesday (11 June), a routine track inspection identified damage to a set of points – which allow trains to pass from one set of tracks to another – in the Bethnal Green area. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough time to fix this before the start of service, so a number of trains had to be cancelled or altered (including short formations) that morning. A plan was then put in place to amend the service from around 2330 on Tuesday evening, which would provide our team with enough time (including some margin for contingencies) to replace the points in question, and enable a full service to resume on Wednesday morning.

However at around 1930 on Tuesday evening, a large section of braking equipment fell from a freight train passing through Stratford. This caused significant damage to infrastructure and led to a number of trains being displaced. Consequently we had to defer the work to replace the points, as to have proceeded as planned would have risked stranding passengers either at Liverpool Street or at other locations on the network. As a result of the issues at both Bethnal Green and Stratford, a number of further services were cancelled or altered on Wednesday morning.

The repairs at Stratford were completed at around lunchtime on Wednesday, and the points at Bethnal Green were successfully replaced in the early hours of Thursday morning (facilitated by a slightly amended service after 2330 the previous evening). Services have since broadly returned to normal.

It is important to recognise that our track inspection regime – which prompted us to identify and replace the defective points at Bethnal Green – contributes to our record as the safest major railway in Europe. However, we continue to keep our processes under review, and our team will consider whether this issue could have been found earlier. In addition, a formal investigation is underway as to how braking equipment became detached from the freight train at Stratford.

The level of disruption that people have faced is particularly disappointing given that, in broad terms, train performance has seen significant improvements since the turn of the year. For example, in the most recent complete four-week period (28 April-25 May), 93.7% of Greater Anglia trains ran on time, with scores of 94.0% and 96.7% being recorded for London Overground and TfL Rail respectively."