Cambridge OLE problem (13th Jan)

MikeWM

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Total collapse in service at Cambridge tonight due to an OLE issue south of the station. Seems something went wrong with the overhead on a GN train about 1745 and nothing has been able to get to Cambridge from the south since. Lots of reports about of commuters stranded for hours across GN and GA stations. Unfortunate timing, with lots of rain and wind - not a great night to be stranded somewhere exposed like Foxton :(

Anyone know more? Seems to have been pretty serious given the amount of time to sort it out - according to GA's website the affected train still hasn't been moved, over 6 hours later... Is it still likely to be an issue tomorrow?

(Per GN's website : 'Trains may be cancelled or delayed by up to 180 minutes' - don't think I've ever seen a number as big as 180 before in this context :-/
 
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bspahh

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https://www.journeycheck.com/gtr/help/${jc.jcurl}/gtr/home says:
At 17:52, power to the overhead lines failed between Royston and Cambridge, forcing all trains in the area to come to a stand. The power was lost because debris became caught in the pantograph equipment on top of a train near Cambridge. Pantographs draw power from the overhead lines so that the train is able to move, but debris can cause significant damage and disruption to this process, particularly at higher speeds.
Specialist engineers from Network Rail, our infrastructure provider, are on site. The affected train has been moved and the railway has now reopened sufficiently for a very small number of trains to be able to run from London towards Cambridge.
A few trains are running. It says disruption is expected until 02:00 14/01.

https://twitter.com/TLRailUK/status/1216818750592299009 has a couple of pictures

 

ocelocelot

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We arrived at Cambridge shortly before 7 (edit: not 6, I misremembered) trying to get to London. Very soon after that they announced that they'd pay for onward taxis. Thankfully we were almost at the front of the queue - but it still took us an hour to get from the station entrance to a taxi. The queue stretched back as far as the old travel centre beyond where the short-stay car park used to be, hundreds of people. I hope they got coaches running eventually! We made it to Royston by taxi; when we got there, there was an onward train. Ended up having dinner several hours later than planned, but got there eventually !
 
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arb

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We arrived at Cambridge shortly before 6 trying to get to London. Very soon after that they announced that they'd pay for onward taxis. Thankfully we were almost at the front of the queue - but it still took us an hour to get from the station entrance to a taxi. The queue stretched back as far as the old travel centre beyond where the short-stay car park used to be, hundreds of people. I hope they got coaches running eventually! We made it to Royston by taxi; when we got there, there was an onward train. Ended up having dinner several hours later than planned, but got there eventually !
There was no sign of any buses at Cambridge, nor anybody directing people towards bus stops in anticipation of buses arriving, when I was there just before 9pm. The taxi rank queue was much bigger than I'd expect for that time of night, but nowhere near as big as you describe (all contained within the taxi rank area and not reaching the station entrance).

Somebody I know travelling from London to Cambridge was kicked off their train at Royston just after 7:30pm (possibly https://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/train/L02671/2020-01-13/detailed?), and didn't get on a bus to Cambridge until 10:30pm!
 

rebmcr

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The taxi rank queue was much bigger than I'd expect for that time of night, but nowhere near as big as you describe (all contained within the taxi rank area and not reaching the station entrance).
I work in Cambridge and a colleague did post a photo internally showing the queue past the station entrance.
 

arb

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I work in Cambridge and a colleague did post a photo internally showing the queue past the station entrance.
I don't dispute that it was that big earlier in the evening. I was saying that at 9pm, despite not being as big as it was earlier, it was still bigger than it normally is at that time in the evening.
 

arb

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I was intrigued to see how Greater Anglia's Cambridge (now Stansted) to Norwich trains ran on Monday evening. Speaking as a Cambridge to Ely commuter, these trains have previously been a lifeline when there's disruption south of Cambridge, but of course now that they've been extended to Stansted, they can get caught up in the problems as well.

Common sense would dictate that they'd just terminate the southbound services from Norwich early at Cambridge, and so everything should run northbound from Cambridge, except for maybe one train at the start of the disruption which might be stuck south of Cambridge. As far as I can see, this is largely what happened. The 1830 northbound from Cambridge was cancelled (https://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/train/L41833/2020-01-13/detailed), but then of the 1925, 2020, 2120 and 2257 from Cambridge, all ran as scheduled apart from one: the 2120. This was instead started from Ely (https://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/train/L41853/2020-01-13/detailed). Does anybody know why this didn't run from Cambridge? As far as I can see all of the southbound trains from Norwich arrived in Cambridge on time, so the stock should have been there. I was in Cambridge at around 2100 (travelled on the 2102 CrossCountry to Ely) and there seemed to plenty of platform space available.

It was also good to see that the train that was stuck south of Cambridge presumably made it back to Norwich as an extra service after midnight (https://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/train/O80193/2020-01-14/detailed), which I imagine helped some of those arriving into Cambridge late on a bus/taxi from places like Royston.
 

MikeWM

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I was intrigued to see how Greater Anglia's Cambridge (now Stansted) to Norwich trains ran on Monday evening. Speaking as a Cambridge to Ely commuter, these trains have previously been a lifeline when there's disruption south of Cambridge, but of course now that they've been extended to Stansted, they can get caught up in the problems as well.

Common sense would dictate that they'd just terminate the southbound services from Norwich early at Cambridge, and so everything should run northbound from Cambridge, except for maybe one train at the start of the disruption which might be stuck south of Cambridge. As far as I can see, this is largely what happened.
Indeed so - I caught the 1925 from Cambridge to Ely, which was very useful. I might have been able to squeeze on the 1901 XC if my elbows had been especially sharp, but it was very very full, and I wasn't in a particular rush.

Does anybody know why this didn't run from Cambridge? As far as I can see all of the southbound trains from Norwich arrived in Cambridge on time, so the stock should have been there. I was in Cambridge at around 2100 (travelled on the 2102 CrossCountry to Ely) and there seemed to plenty of platform space available.
No, this appears odd. RTT being confused by the disruption?

It was also good to see that the train that was stuck south of Cambridge presumably made it back to Norwich as an extra service after midnight (https://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/train/O80193/2020-01-14/detailed), which I imagine helped some of those arriving into Cambridge late on a bus/taxi from places like Royston.
Indeed so. GN services north of Cambridge at times of disruption tend to be really poor - they never seem to want to run anything later than the usual 0008, however bad disruption further south may be. Good to see GA helping out, once again.

In any event, the end of the week on GN turned out to be rather better than the start, which admittedly wasn't difficult!
 

jon0844

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Apparently GN has some issues with the handback being delayed and GA succeeding in getting permission to run its trains in ahead of GN.

For some time GTR simply could not send trains to Cambridge with services terminated further south so as not to be left between stations in a long queue.
 

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