A FALLEN tree caused chaos for commuters after damaging an overhead electric wire near to Colchester.

The tree is understood to have fallen and struck the powerline at around 6.45am yesterday, with a branch also hitting a travelling train.

A section of the powerline, located just outside Colchester towards Manningtree, was severely damaged.

All services through Colchester were cancelled, delayed or revised from around 7am.

Trains continued to run between Colchester and Liverpool Street, however rail replacement buses were called in to ferry customers between Colchester, Manningtree and Ipswich.

Network Rail engineers were rushed to repair the damaged lines, but the work could not be completed until well into the evening’s peak period.

Disruption was expected until 8pm, with thousands of commuters set to face massive delays during their journey home from work.

Derek Monnery, chairman of the Essex Rail Users Federation, said these kind of incidents were difficult to plan for.

“Myself and my partner were extremely lucky not have have been affected as we didn’t travel to London today,” he said.

“From what I have seen on social media a branch hit the train and the power line.

“The problem is when the overhead wires are hit they have to cut the power off.

“Sadly there have been quite a few of these incidents recently.

“I don’t think it is necessarily anyone’s fault but it is bad for commuters.

“The most important thing for commuters is the trains are reliable - if they aren’t then people have to catch earlier trains to compensate.

“In these situations where they can, people try and avoid going in but sadly that isn’t always possible.”

Greater Anglia arranged for tickets to be accepted on buses between Colchester Town and Colchester stations.

A spokesperson said: “We apologise to passengers who have been affected by delays and cancellations today.

“This is due to damage to the overhead wires between Colchester and Manningtree.

“Anyone who has been affected by the disruption should claim delay repay at www.greateranglia.co.uk/delayrepay.”

There are all the trains cancelled so far this evening: 


For updates about the delays, click here