Rail travel chaos after cable theft
Tuesday 17 January 2012
Tens of thousands of rail passengers suffered travel chaos today after another cable theft, and a cracked rail, led to huge disruption on some of the country's busiest routes.
Services into London's Waterloo station - used by around 250,000 passengers a day - were heavily delayed by the two early-morning incidents.
A cable theft in the Basingstoke area knocked out signalling control for some hours while engineers rushed to the site to make repairs, which were completed shortly after 7am.
Meanwhile, a hairline crack in a rail near Vauxhall, just outside Waterloo, was spotted by engineers in the early hours in one of the central lines into the central London mainline station.
A Network Rail spokesman said: “Because of the very congested nature of track in this area, engineers are unable to make repairs until overnight tonight, with this line being out for the rest of the day.
“This will mean some cancellations this evening and passengers are advised to check the South West Trains website for more details.”
The railways have been hit by a spate of cable thefts which have led to widespread disruption to services for the past year.
British Transport Police has launched a series of campaigns to tackle the problem, including UK-wide raids of scrap metal merchants.
A South West Trains spokesman said: “We are extremely frustrated that our passengers' journeys are being disrupted again this morning and we are sorry for the inconvenience this will cause.
“Network Rail engineers are working hard to repair the problems as soon as possible and we will keep our customers updated.”
The train operator announced a number of service alterations which are expected to remain in place for the rest of the day, including a shuttle service between Woking and Alton, Shepperton and Kingston, and Surbiton and Hampton Court, West of England services starting and finishing at Basingstoke, and the cancellation of trains to and from Dorking in Surrey.
Passengers on some other routes also faced delays.
A signalling problem at Reading in Berkshire caused hold-ups for customers with the CrossCountry and First Great Western train companies, with some services delayed by up to 45 minutes.
A level crossing problem at Ely in Cambridgeshire caused delays between King's Lynn and Ely to passengers travelling with the First Capital Connect and National Express East Anglia train companies.
On the London Underground, the Waterloo & City line was suspended for a time during the rush-hour due to a fire alert.
A spokesman for the Association of Train Operating Companies said: “Cable thieves' thoughtless actions are regularly bringing disruption to thousands of rail passengers up and down the country.
“The rail industry is working hard to tackle the organised gangs and opportunist thieves who are causing the problems.
“To deal with the problem more effectively, we need tighter regulation on the sale of scrap metal and tougher sentences for offenders.”
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour
- 2 Scottish referendum results: David Cameron set to unveil major devolution of powers to England
- 3 iOS 8 is full of shiny new features - but it's terrible news for app developers
- 4 Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
- 5 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Scottish independence results live: Reunited kingdom - Scotland gives a clear 'No' in historic referendum
Scottish referendum results: David Cameron set to unveil major devolution of powers to England
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish independence: YouGov final prediction puts No campaign 8 points ahead - but Yes team remains optimistic
Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£7 - £8 per hour: Randstad Education Cheshire: The Job:School Science Technici...
£50 - £60 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Long term SIMS School Administr...
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Nursery assistants re...
£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a qualified teache...