A TRAIN line operator has admitted it knew a piece of track would soon need to be replaced weeks before it failed, cancelling 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 this week after it emerged the piece of track had failed earlier than expected, creating a large crack.

The incident began at peak time on Monday evening, when two platforms were closed because of the fault.

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.

James Abram said posted: “@greateranglia - terrible service between Southend and Liverpool St over the last few days.

“Really putting that fare increase to good use.”

Paul Dulieu added: “Why is it that the majority of train cancellations are to Southend Victoria trains?”

Kristin Brooks tweeted: “@greateranglia worst service!

“Trying to get home to Southend from Stratford.

“Horrible, horrible.

“Yet it costs me a fortune to wait and then have a bus replacement.

“Awful service to be honest.”

Network Rail said it knew the piece of track was deteriorating and had ordered the new part earlier in the year. However, it failed earlier than expected and the replacement is not due until October.

Network Rail has asked the French manufacturer, which supplies the bespoke part to all European train lines, to speed up the process 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 Greater 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.”

If your journey has been delayed by 30 minutes or more, you may be entitled to compensation: greateranglia.co.uk/about-us/our-performance/delay-repay. Check: journeycheck.com/greateranglia/