Commuter chaos set to last a week after downed cables at Radlett


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The Independent Online

Rail passengers were plagued with problems today with major disruption continuing on busy commuter routes.

To add to overhead power cable problems in Hertfordshire, a serious landslip which buckled rails meant disruption to services in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.

The Hertfordshire difficulties, at Radlett, caused severe disruption to last night's evening rush-hour services.

Today, two of the four lines between Bedford and St Pancras in London remained closed.

East Midlands Trains journeys between Bedford and London St Pancras International were delayed by up to 60 minutes

There were shorter delays on First Capital Connect (FCC) and Southeastern journeys between Bedford and St Pancras.

Delays on FCC trains were expected run into tomorrow morning, and a spokesman said services would be affected all day today.

He added: "The damage is extensive - 1km of overhead power cables are down."

The huge landslip wrecked the track at Hatfield & Stainforth in South Yorkshire and is expected to affect services for some time.

Buses are replacing trains between Doncaster and Goole/Scunthorpe, with journey times extended by up to 60 minutes

First TransPennine Express services between Manchester Airport and Cleethorpes were not running between Doncaster and Scunthorpe.

Northern Rail services between Sheffield and Bridlington/Scarborough were being diverted via Selby, and were not calling at Goole, while Northern Rail services between Doncaster and Scunthorpe were suspended.

Other routes were also hit by problems today.

Merseyrail services were affected by a signalling problem at Birkenhead Park. This led to delays between New Brighton/West Kirby and Liverpool Central.

In West Sussex, a broken-down train caused disruption at Durrington-on-Sea, with delays to services between Chichester/Littlehampton and Worthing.

In south-west London, emergency engineering works led to delays to all services through Wimbledon.

Due to flooding, Greater Anglia services were delayed between Great Yarmouth/Lowestoft and Norwich.

In the West Midlands, Chiltern Railways and London Midland passengers faced delays between Kidderminster and Birmingham Snow Hill due to a signalling problem at Stourbridge Junction.

On the Underground the Metropolitan line was suspended for a time in the early part of the rush-hour between Baker Street and Aldgate due to a signal failure at Farringdon.

Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT transport union, said: "We have been raising serious concerns about the shortage of overhead line crew and capacity on Britain's railways for a number of years now.

"The chaos on services hitting hundreds of thousands due to the massive breakdown through central London as a result of the lines down in Hertfordshire reinforces RMT's demand for a full review of overhead line maintenance and emergency staffing numbers."