Our report of the delay has attracted a full response from Grand Central, the operator used – generally with great satisfaction – by London-based SAFC supporters. Passengers are invited to return the relevant part of their tickets for refunds for the affected journey.
Here is Grand Central’s statement to Salut! Sunderland:
“Grand Central Railway apologises to those of its passengers caught up in the disruption in the Hitchin area last night (Sunday). Owing to a Network Rail signalling problem that caused an East Coast service to become marooned in the non-electrified section of the route near Hitchin (where engineering work was taking place) there was severe disruption to all rail services to London King’s Cross yesterday evening. The East Coast train had to be assisted out of the affected area by Grand Central’s train. Once this was done, we believed our train would proceed straightaway to Kings Cross. However, once pushed clear of the non electrified area, a technical problem occurred with the stalled train, which consequently blocked our onward journey until a rescue locomotive was summoned to take the affected train forward to London Kings Cross.
This resulted in several services to Kings Cross being delayed for up to four hours, included the Grand Central service from Sunderland.
Taxis were provided for passengers at Kings Cross for onward travel.
Network Rail is mounting an enquiry into the original signal problem and East Coast is mounting an enquiry into the cause of their trains subsequent failure which blocked the line to London.
Grand Central is supporting both these enquiries and will of course be looking at how we can learn from how the events were dealt with from a passenger’s viewpoint.
Meanwhile Grand Central customers involved in this delay are invited to send their tickets to our Customer Services for compensation of the fare for that leg of the journey.
Once again Grand Central apologises for any inconvenience caused to our passengers, which were exacerbated by the fact that the Grand Central train, in common with the other trains affected were very busy, because train paths were severely limited by the planned engineering work in the Hitchin area.”