Commuters suffer heavy delays after Southall rail crash

Last week's train crash at Southall paralysed a key stretch of the rail network, severely disrupting commuter traffic. Randeep Ramesh, Transport Correspondent, predicts that today's journey will be easier.
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The Independent Online
Train operators promised a "near normal" service today after commuters suffered 24 hours of travel chaos.

Friday's west London train crash disaster at Southall, which killed six people, saw rail services on the busy section of track between Reading and Paddington suspended - forcing other train companies to put on extra carriages.

Extra carriages were added to existing services between Reading and Waterloo, although the number of services was not being increased. Train companies said the only problems for travellers today was that "a few peak-hour trains may terminate earlier than expected but passengers could use connecting services".

Yesterday, South West Trains added up to four extra carriages on services to Bristol and Reading. Some Great Western high-speed trains, which would normally terminate at Paddington, were redirected to Waterloo.

Motoring organisations reported heavier traffic than usual on the local roads surrounding train stations and on the M4 heading into London. This is not expected to continue today. A spokesman for Great Western Trains, said that there was extra journey time of up to an hour for customers from the south west and Wales. In London, travellers were told to avoid Paddington station. Six people died and more than 160 other passengers were injured in Friday's crash when a high speed train from Swansea to Paddington smashed into an empty freight train crossing in front of it at near Southall station. While most of the wreckage was cleared from the line yesterday, workers still have to replace 500 yards of damaged track and signalling. Investigations are continuing into the cause of the crash, with key questions about in-train protection systems still unanswered. Rail bosses have refused to comment on whether the Advanced Warning System was working in the driver's car, or whether the more sophisticated Automatic Train Protection (ATP) device was switched on.

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