Rail: Network Rail Apologises

Network Rail has blamed 'component failure' for collapsed power cables near St Neots.

It caused major disruption on the East Coast mainline between Peterborough and London King's Cross on Tuesday evening.

It also led to delays and cancellations on trains during the following two days while the cables were fixed.

Network Rail has apologised for the disruption, and pledged to investigate what went wrong to prevent it happening again.

The organisation also says its programme of maintenance work in the area was up to date before the incident.

An open letter from Route Managing Director Phil Verster, apologising for the disruption, reads: "Our initial investigations into the recent overhead power supply incidents at Radlett and St Neots indicate that both incidents were caused by component failures. 

We are sorry for this and for the disruption, many passengers will have experienced as a result.

In both instances, we have identified exactly which components failed and we are carrying out further work to establish the reasons so that we can minimise the chance of repeat failures in the future. 

Network Rail's priority is to run a safe, reliable railway and we continuously monitor the track, signalling, overhead power supply and other infrastructure for signs of ageing and degradation so we can fix them before they cause disruption to passengers. 

We report these findings regularly to the Office of Rail Regulation, which oversees the actions we are taking to make the railway more reliable for the travelling public. 

While of little comfort to those whose journeys were delayed or disrupted by these recent incidents, it's important to note that since April 2011, the number of overhead lines faults causing delays to passengers has fallen by 14%, with the number of serious incidents down by 23%. 

At both Radlett and St Neots, our programme of maintenance checks had been carried out as planned and all inspections were up to date."

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