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While many travellers have experienced disruption on the railways due to ongoing strikes, others were surprised to find their trains were cancelled or delayed yesterday (Monday 1 August) because of a... ‘large injured tortoise’.
Diane Akers, who had been travelling to Norwich, tweeted a photo of the four-legged disruption on the tracks, saying it was 'in a bad way' with a visibly injured shell.
Akers wrote: "There is a giant tortoise on the train line I am on the train to Norwich just past Harling it’s still alive but in a bad way."
When other Twitter users asked if the tortoise would be okay after suffering what looked like a ‘nasty injury’, Akers said the animal was thankfully on the mend, writing: “The train company said he will make a full recovery thank goodness!”
Another passenger, Anna Debenham, also tweeted about the tortoise, saying a tannoy announcement had told the train: "We apologise for the 74 minute delay to this service. This was due a… tortoise on the tracks.”
Debenham added: “Amazingly, I did not mishear that. There is indeed a tortoise on the tracks that is causing chaos.
“The train announcer would like everyone to know that it is a Giant African Tortoise.”
⚠NEW - Due to animals on the railway at #HarlingRoad the line is blocked— Greater Anglia (@greateranglia) August 1, 2022
Train services running through this station may be cancelled, delayed or revised Disruption is expected until further notice
This affects our Norwich to Stansted Airport line and also East Midlands Railway
Greater Anglia confirmed on Twitter that lines were blocked due to 'animals on the railway', and that many services had been cancelled, delayed or altered.
“Due to animals on the railway at #HarlingRoad the line is blocked," it said.
"Train services running through this station may be cancelled, delayed or revised.
“Disruption is expected until further notice.
“This affects our Norwich to Stansted Airport line and also East Midlands Railway.”
The train company later tweeted to say that all lines had reopened, but that some services remained affected by the disruption.
It explained: "Following animals on the line earlier at #HarlingRoad all lines have now reopened. Train services running through this station are returning to normal but some services may still be cancelled, delayed or revised. Disruption is expected until 15:30 01/08.”
The company added: "The large injured tortoise has been removed and all lines have now reopened. However due to the severe delays caused some services from Norwich will terminate/start from Cambridge."
Greater Anglia issued an apology to passengers, saying those affected may be able to claim money back.
Apologising for the disruption to passengers, a Greater Anglia spokesperson said in a statement: “We are sorry for the disruption caused to customers between Norwich and Cambridge this afternoon.
“This was due to a very large, injured tortoise on the line near Harling Road. Network Rail attended and helped the animal. Services were able to run from 13.25.
“Two trains were terminated early and one service started 20 minutes late. Anyone who has been delayed for more than 15 minutes can claim delay repay.”
It remains unclear how the tortoise ended up on the track, or how it had sustained injuries.
A spokesperson for Network Rail told The Independent on Monday evening that the tortoise had been taken to a local vets, but was unable to provide an update on the animal’s health.
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