Apology & Incident Review for Monday night
We are very sorry for the delays many of you experienced during your journey home on Monday 12 February, following a train fault at Limehouse.
This article is intended to provide you with more information about what happened, what the impact was on our service, and how we managed the situation.
If you were delayed you are likely to be eligible for compensation. Please see below for more details about how to claim for the money you are owed.
At 16.23 a train heading into Fenchurch Street suffered a brake fault at Limehouse station, leaving it unable to move. We have a fitter located at Limehouse during the evening peak in case of such eventualities, and he worked to resolve the fault and allow the train to move away. At 16.50 he was able to release the brakes and the train departed.
What was the impact?
Because we only have one track in each direction in this area, no other train was able to pass the stuck service and reach Fenchurch Street. In the 27 minutes that this train was stuck, twelve other trains had been due in the central London section of our route heading for Fenchurch Street station, but were unable to get through.
Some of these trains were queued behind the stuck service, while others were held in the depot or terminated and turned around before they reached this area because there is limited capacity for them to queue.
By the time we reached the stage where trains were able to run into Fenchurch Street again, the vast majority of the trains on our network were either already out of place or facing disruption to their return journey.
What did we do about it?
Due to the intensive service we operate on the limited capacity of one track in each direction between Fenchurch Street and Barking, there is minimal opportunity for services to recover time after disruption. This means that continued delays and cancellations were inevitable for the remainder of the peak and into the evening.
Our priority was to keep as many people moving as possible while providing the most-balanced service possible, and not allowing long gaps to develop in services to individual stations. To achieve this, a number of services had their stopping pattern changed, with either additional stops added or selected stops removed to enable that train to accelerate away from other services behind.
A number of trains heading into London skipped stops in central London to get them into Fenchurch Street sooner, while selected services terminated at Barking and began their return journey from there, instead of being caught in further delays heading into London.
We know these changes can be frustrating for passengers onboard those trains, but they are vital to improve the service we are able to provide for the majority of our customers. Each train that terminates early or misses a stop counts as a failure under the performance measure we have in place under our contract with the Government. In total 94 services were cancelled, part-cancelled or late to their destinations as a result of this incident.
We also arranged for c2c tickets to be accepted on Greater Anglia and London Underground services to help provide alternative options for travel.
If you are interested in more information about how incidents like this can cause significant knock-on delays, you may find this video from Network Rail useful: https://www.networkrail.co.uk/running-the-railway/looking-after-the-railway/delays-explained/knock-on-delays/
Compensation for your delays
If your journey was delayed you will be eligible for compensation. Find out more about the different tiers of compensation we offer based on the length of your delay here.
If you are a c2c Smartcard user, an automatic payment will be made based on when you tapped in at the ticket barriers. We recommend you check your online account to ensure this reflects the actual delay to your journey, and if you do not feel it does so then you can use your account to contact us and correct the automatic system.
If you hold a paper ticket or travel using Oyster or contactless cards, please fill out your details on this LINK to claim your compensation.