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City fans faced seven-hour train journey

PUBLISHED: 09:18 19 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:35 06 July 2010

A glum faced Norwich fan at last night's game

A glum faced Norwich fan at last night's game

Sarah Hall

Insult was added to injury for dozens of Norwich City fans after last night's wretched defeat at Brentford - when their train took seven hours to return to the city.

Insult was added to injury for dozens of Norwich City fans after last night's wretched defeat at Brentford - when their train took seven hours to return to the city.

Bleary-eyed supporters arrived at Norwich train station just after 6.30am today after the 11.30pm National Express East Anglia service from London's Liverpool Street broke down twice.

The tortuous journey came after long-suffering fans travelled to London to witness the Canaries slide to a miserable 2-1 away defeat at Brentford, which means the Carrow Road club have picked up a single point out of a possible nine in their League One campaign.

Meanwhile, long-suffering passengers using the trains today were being warned to expect problems after a series of delays were announced.

Last night's train, which had about 100 people on board, first broke down in Ingatestone and weary passengers had to wait for nearly three hours while a replacement engine was found.

But disaster struck again shortly after the train left Colchester when it started lurching and shuddering. It had to reverse to Colchester where the engine was replaced again.

The irony of the train breaking down near Colchester will not be lost on Norwich City supporters. Colchester beat Norwich 7-1 at Carrow Road in the opening game of the season and The U's boss Paul Lambert quit the Essex club yesterday to take Bryan Gunn's place as Canaries manager.

Matt Worley, a Norwich City fan who was on the train, said: “We were on the 11.30pm train, the last train from London. It was meant to get in at 1.30am, but we reached Norwich at 6.35am.

“It broke down twice, once when we were about 20 minutes outside of London. They brought a new engine but then it broken down again just after Colchester. Then it went back to Colchester and then we trundled slowly back to Norwich.

“The café bar was shut so we had no food or water for about four hours. It was shocking, really. I travel on there a lot and I'm used to them being a bit rubbish but that was pretty bad.”

A spokesman for National Express apologised to customers, saying: “Obviously this was a very frustrating journey home for people.

“Passengers will be entitled to full refunds and, in view of the extent of the delay, we will be looking at what other recompense we can offer, as well as what lessons we need to learn for the future.”

The breakdown of last night's train had a knock on effect, with the 8.30am service from Norwich to London cancelled and the 9am service from Norwich to London reduced to four coaches between the city and Ipswich.

Today's 5.30pm service from Norwich to Liverpool Street and the 8pm Liverpool Street to Norwich services have also been axed due to an “operating incident”.

Were you on the train? Call Evening News reporter Dan Grimmer on 01603 772375 or email dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk


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