Rail accident investigation to take a year

PUBLISHED: 11:22 18 July 2007 | UPDATED: 12:39 04 May 2010

RAIL accident investigators could take more than a year to reveal the cause of the derailment at Ely which has closed part of the river. The news is cold comfort for brothers, Chris and Phil Wenn who run the city s Bridge Boatyard. They are struggling to

RAIL accident investigators could take more than a year to reveal the cause of the derailment at Ely which has closed part of the river.

The news is cold comfort for brothers, Chris and Phil Wenn who run the city's Bridge Boatyard.

They are struggling to keep going in the hope that they will be able to claim compensation.

The pair have managed to relocate two thirds of their 17-strong fleet of hire boats to marinas at St Ives and Earith but have lost bookings.

On Monday morning, they and their four-strong staff sent out five boats from three different boatyards.

Chris said: "This is making life difficult. We are travelling a lot of miles and we are getting to the time when staff will start taking holidays.

"It's hard to keep up. We had some cancellations in the early days and turnover is going to be quite a bit down. We are hopeful that if we can get some compensation we can keep going. But it might mean that we will have to downsize for a couple of years."

Chris called on East Cambridgeshire District Council to give the boatyard a reduction in its Council Tax.

"We need help from the local community," he added, "and this is a way that they can help."

The brothers will be unable to lodge their compensation claim until the report by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch is published.

A spokesman confirmed, however, this would take at least six months and could take more than a year.

Engineers have been assigned to remove 11 derailed train carriages left hanging on a bridge over the River Great Ouse and work could take six months

County and district Cllr Bill Hunt has called on the county council to put pressure on Network Rail to complete the work as quickly as possible and advise businesses on how they can file for compensation.

Cllr Hunt, who represents Haddenham on Cambridgeshire County Council and Stretham and Wilburton on the district council, said: "My concern is that there doesn't seem to be any great sense of urgency. This is affecting businesses, tourism, people using their boats and fishermen. Footpaths have been closed and we need to put pressure on Network Rail.

East Cambridgeshire District Council's finance director, Alex Colyer, urged the Wenn brothers to put their case for a reduction in Council Tax to the district council or the Anglia Revenue Partnership.

He said: "They could be eligible for a temporary revaluation of their business tax during the period of time they are experiencing difficulties or they could be eligible for hardship relief. We can't guarantee, however, that they would get a reduction.

"They should also look at the clause in their insurance contract which covers continuity of business to see if they are covered.

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