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Passengers angry about overcrowding on trains

Commuters say they're furious they're paying hundreds of pounds a month for train journeys where they can't even get a seat.

While money's being invested in mainline services across the South West, there are claims that smaller stations and branch lines are being overlooked, meaning hundreds of passengers are commuting to Bristol in cramped carriages. Laura Makin-Isherwood reports.

Bad weather hits train punctuality

The bad weather saw punctuality times for trains across the country fall Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The severe winter storms took their toll on train punctuality including that of CrossCountry last month, according to official figures.

The CrossCountry train company, managed only a punctuality figure of 78.1% in February, compared with 88.8% for February 2013.

First Great Western, affected by the severe damage to the coastal track at Dawlish in Devon, had a trains-on-time figure of only 80.4% last month, compared with 91.8% in February 2013.

Since December staff dealt with more than 500 fallen trees blocking lines, 285 flooded sites and 73 landslips or line washouts.


Disruption to West Country train services

There's major disruption on the trains this morning between Bridgwater and Taunton, and Taunton and Plymouth/Penzance.

Meanwhile, trains from the West Country into London are also subject to delays.

First Great Western said it would only be able to run four trains an hour between Reading and London Paddington because of flooding near Maidenhead.

South West Trains is operating a heavily-curtailed service.

Rail line through Crewkerne reopens - at 5mph

Trains are again running through Crewkerne and on into Devon following yesterday's landslip - but at speeds down to 5mph. A short while ago South West Trains said services were resuming between Waterloo and Exeter St Davids.

Yesterday Network Rail said initial assessments showed it could be some time before the was re-opened.

Landslip closes rail line through Somerset

The embankment near Crewkerne slipped away this morning Credit: Network Rail

A landslip near Crewkerne has halted rail services through Yeovil Junction, effectively severing the link through to Devon and Cornwall. Network Rail says the route from Bridgwater is blocked by the flooded River Parrett, while the main line from Castle Cary is blocked by flooding at Athelney.

It is likely that the slip at Crewkerne will be closed for a least a week, but it is too early to say when the line through Bridgwater will reopen. The floods are currently being blown into waves by the high winds in the area, which are washing away the stones the track rests on.

The landslip and other weather-related problems are affecting services as far away as Bristol Parkway, where bus services have been laid on between there and Exeter St Davids.


Flooding causes disruption to rail services

There's widespread disruption to rail services in the West Country owing to flooding. There are currently no services running between St Ives and St Erth. Replacement bus services are being laid on. There are also no services between Penzance and St Erth. Tickets are being accepted on bus routes.

And there are no trains between Exeter St Davids and Plymouth owing to high tides affecting the line from Exeter to Newton Abbot.

Abnormal load continues its slow journey to Avonmouth

The third and last transformer is on the last leg of its journey from Didcot Power Station to Avonmouth docks. It is almost 100m long and 5m wide and will take up two lanes of motorways and the entire width of normal roads. It is travelling at an average speed of 4 mph, slower on hills.

  • The load stayed at Tog Hill parking area near Bath overnight
  • This morning it is undergoing safety checks before leaving 8-9 am
  • It will travel to Wick by the A420 (11am) where steel plates will be laid so it can pass over two culverts.
  • It will continue to the A4174. At Bromley Heath roundabout the road will be closed to the M32 junction so the load can travel on the wrong side of the dual carriageway to avoid a weak bridge.
  • At the junction with Bristol Road, the load will return to the correct carriageway and continue onto the M32
  • It will then rejoin the M4 before taking the M5 to Avonmouth.
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