TRAIN line bosses have admitted they knew a piece of track would soon need to be replaced weeks before it failed, scores of trains.

Network Rail has said it ordered a replacement for the specialist piece of track at London Liverpool Street earlier this year, with it due to arrive in October.

However, Greater Anglia had to cancel scores of trains between Southend and London Liverpool Street yesterday after it emerged the piece of track had failed earlier than expected, creating a large crack.

The incident, which was initially flagged up on Sunday evening, impacted on trains all day on Monday and for much of yesterday.

The disruption is expected to continue until Friday.

Jay Thompson, Greater Anglia train service delivery director, said: “We’re running as many trains as we can given that two platforms at Liverpool Street are closed.

"We’re also doing our best to make sure customers are aware of any changes to their trains in advance.

“I’d like to reassure customers that the majority of our services across the network are running as normal, but we apologise to customers who have been affected by this track defect.”

Angry passengers took to Twitter to complain about the delays and cancellations preventing them from getting to work.

Gavin Murphy tweeted to Greater Anglia: “Please tell me this was a joke? 06.47am Colchester Town to Liverpool Street terminated at Colchester. Jolly decent of you to get everybody 1.3 miles down the line.”

Trever Doodes added: “I was supposed to bring seeing a band in Colchester last night.

“Couldn’t get there, so I’m down the cost of the ticket and a hotel. I wonder what my chances of getting that money back are?”

The essential part has been requested from a French manufacturer, which supplies the bespoke part to all European train lines.

But Network Rail has now asked for the manufacturing process to be sped up and is working to put a temporary fix in place in the meantime, which is expected Friday.

The bespoke part is not made anywhere in Britain.

Steve Hooker, Network Rail’s head of maintenance for Anglia, said: “I understand the inconvenience this issue causes and apologise to everyone affected.

“We are working hard to repair this fault as quickly and safely as possible, so that we can get a full service back up and running.

“I advise that passengers check before they travel as some journeys may be split between two trains and trains will be busier than usual.”