'Mania in Manea': Cambs Times editor investigates railway delays after he is stranded at the village's station

PUBLISHED: 12:29 01 June 2018

Cambs Times editor John Elworthy investigates railway delays at Manea station after all trains are cancelled from March station, here’s how he got on. PHOTO: John Elworthy

Cambs Times editor John Elworthy investigates railway delays at Manea station after all trains are cancelled from March station, here's how he got on. PHOTO: John Elworthy

John Elworthy

With rail services through Manea abandoned for the day because of damage to two bridges, I thought I would test for myself how villagers are coping. They may be coping but clearly the rail network isn't.

Cambs Times editor John Elworthy investigates railway delays at Manea station after all trains are cancelled from March station, here’s how he got on. PHOTO: John Elworthy Cambs Times editor John Elworthy investigates railway delays at Manea station after all trains are cancelled from March station, here’s how he got on. PHOTO: John Elworthy

The station – whose development has been stunted by the absence of a car park – does at least have a small shed converted into a comfortable waiting room.

But if you’re contemplating sitting there awaiting a promised replacement bus you could wait an exceedingly long time – the buses do not divert via the village.

And that is despite the promise of a replacement bus by a customer services representative I contacted via an intercom link on the platform.

Cambs Times editor John Elworthy investigates railway delays at Manea station after all trains are cancelled from March station, here’s how he got on. PHOTO: John Elworthy Cambs Times editor John Elworthy investigates railway delays at Manea station after all trains are cancelled from March station, here’s how he got on. PHOTO: John Elworthy

I spelt out Manea clearly and precisely and was assured a bus would be there to take me into March and then complete my journey to Ely (where I told him I was trying to reach).

Large numbers of workmen hoping to restore a regular service from Peterborough into Ely via March were gathering at Manea throughout the morning ready for the green light to get started on the bridge repairs.

One workman told me they were waiting for a ‘possession order’ from Network Rail to authorise contractors to access the line. At 10.30am he was hopeful of the paperwork being completed shortly and said the order would allow workmen up to 12 hours to carry out emergency repairs and return the track to Network Rail.

Cambs Times editor John Elworthy investigates railway delays at Manea station after all trains are cancelled from March station, here’s how he got on. PHOTO: John Elworthy Cambs Times editor John Elworthy investigates railway delays at Manea station after all trains are cancelled from March station, here’s how he got on. PHOTO: John Elworthy

However he also told me that freight services along the line would continue as normal although he was unable to say when the line would fully re-open for passengers.

Greater Anglia said that services between Ely and Peterborough will be suspended from 06:57am today until further notice whilst Network Rail carry out emergency repair work on a bridge in the Manea area.

“Greater Anglia services will be supplemented by rail replacement bus services between Ely and Peterborough calling at March and Whittlesea,” said the spokesman.

“Passengers at Manea are advised that rail replacement bus services won’t call at the station and they should use the help points to speak to a member of station staff who will advise on options to complete their onward journey.

“Ticket restrictions will be lifted and passengers with tickets booked for days of disruption will be able to use them on another. Train operating companies have also agreed a universal ticket acceptance.

“We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.”

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