Thousands hit and train company apologises as Kings Cross problems linger throughout today

 

Thousands of train passengers endured travel misery on a key London to Scotland route today with the severe disruption likely to last all day.

Caused by an overhead wire collapse on the East Coast in Cambridgeshire, the problem led to some passengers spending Tuesday night on a train at London's King's Cross station.

East Coast services were severely disrupted, with no trains able to run between Peterborough and London during the morning.

Services run by First Capital Connect, Grand Central and First Hull Trains were also affected

As Network Rail (NR) and East Coast explained what had happened, Bob Crow, leader of the RMT transport union, said he had been warning about a shortage of overhead line crew and capacity for "years".

With the last East Coast train from King's Cross cancelled last night, the station remained open all night as passengers trying to get home refused to leave the train.

They included football fans trying to get home from Arsenal's Champions League match with Bayern Munich.

The London Evening Standard said a decision had been made to let the passengers stay on the train.

The trouble today followed severe disruption last week caused by an overhead line problem at Radlett in Hertfordshire.

At the same time as passengers were being delayed, the Office of Rail Regulation was issuing a damning report on NR's recent performance, accusing the company of "areas of poor management of the railways" and instances of "basic operational planning mistakes".

 
A spokesman for NR said: "At around 10pm yesterday a train driver reported problems with the overhead power lines near St Neots in Cambridgeshire, on the East Coast Main Line.

"Upon investigation damage has been caused to around one kilometre of overhead wires. Our engineers have worked through the night to carry out repairs and continue to work on the affected section of railway, but the scale of the problem means no trains will be able to run through this section until midday at least, when a diesel-only service will be able to operate."

The spokesman went on: "We apologise to passengers for the significant disruption this is causing to services. We're doing everything we can to repair the damage and get people moving as quickly as we possibly can.

"Train operators are providing buses where necessary and have lifted ticketing restrictions to enable passengers to travel via alternative routes.

"The cause of a dewirement on the Midland Main Line at Radlett last Wednesday was an infrastructure failure. All maintenance on this piece of infrastructure was up to date and maintenance staff numbers were not a factor."

The East Coast train company said: "East Coast services are being disrupted this morning following damage to the overhead power lines at St Neots last night.

"Network Rail have teams working to repair damage. They expect that a limited service of diesel trains may resume from 12 noon today."

The statement went on: "East Coast services are currently starting from, and terminating at, Peterborough. Our advice to passengers travelling to or from stations south of Peterborough, including London King's Cross, is to defer journeys until tomorrow, when tickets dated for travel today will be accepted.

"In addition, East Coast tickets are being accepted via alternative routes to London, including on East Midlands Trains' services via Sheffield, and on Virgin West Coast services.

"All ticket restrictions on East Coast trains have been lifted for the remainder of today. We apologise to all passengers affected by this disruption."

Mr Crow said: "We have been raising serious concerns about the shortage of overhead line (OHL) crew and capacity on Britain's railways for a number of years now.

"We repeated those points only last week when the lines came down at Radlett and now just days later we have another massive OHL failure on our hands. We cannot carry on like this."

He went on: "The chaos on services hitting hundreds of thousands due to cancellations out of central London as a result of the lines down overnight reinforces RMT's demand for a full review of OHL maintenance and emergency staffing numbers and capacity to cope with this growing infrastructure issue and a massive backlog of essential works."

PA

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
i100

Other places that have held independence referendums
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur
film

It scooped up an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards when it was first remade in 1959

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
News
news

Arts and Entertainment
Blossoming love: Colin Firth as Stanley and Emma Stone as Sophie, in 'Magic in the Moonlight'
film

Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
Arts and Entertainment
Maxine Peake plays Hamlet at Manchester's Royal Exchange
theatreReview: Maxine Peake brings emotional ferocity to Shakespeare's starring part
News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

Travel
travel

...and the perfect time to visit them

Sport
Jonas Gutierrez (r) competes with Yaya Toure (l)
football

Newcastle winger reveals he has testicular cancer - and is losing his trademark long hair as a result

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SEN Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: SEN Teacher required with immediate...

Maths Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Reading: Maths Teacher required for a College i...

Year 1 Teacher required in Haverhill

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Teacher required for ...

Lecturer - Construction

Negotiable: Randstad Education Reading: Construction Lecturer needed for a Col...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week