Lightning strikes and flooding caused havoc on mainline rail services today.

Rush-hour passengers in Scotland, the North of England, the West Midlands, East Anglia and southern England were all affected by the stormy weather.

To add to travellers' problems, there were severe delays on London Underground's District line due to a signal failure

There were also hold-ups to freight services passing through the Channel Tunnel.

The worst of the lightning incidents was in the Manchester area, where signals were damaged by a strike. This meant trains were unable to move in or out of Manchester Piccadilly station, with journey times being extended by up to 90 minutes.

A limited amount of replacement road transport was running between Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Airport.

Lightning affecting signals also meant that no trains were able to run between Berwick-upon-Tweed and Edinburgh, while a similar problem in the West Midlands led to delays between Coventry/Birmingham International and Birmingham New Street.

Lightning also damaged signalling equipment between Manea and March in Cambridgeshire, which meant delays for passengers travelling between Ely and Peterborough, and signalling gear near Beverley on Humberside, causing delays between Hull and Beverley.

In Kent, fallen electricity cables at Penshurst meant trains were unable to run between Redhill in Surrey and Tonbridge in Kent, with buses replacing trains.

Flooding caused disruption near Gillingham in Kent, with delays and cancellations to services between Sheerness-on-Sea and Sittingbourne.

The flooding also led to delays to trains between Faversham and St Pancras International station in London and to services between Strood and Tonbridge.

Signalling problems at Sawbridgeworth in Hertfordshire and at Stansted Airport station in Essex meant delays of up to 60 minutes for those travelling to and from Stansted.

A signalling problem caused by a lightning strike led to disruption at Manningtree in Essex, with no services able to run between Ipswich and Norwich.l.

An obstruction on the line led to disruption between Kidsgrove and Alsager in Staffordshire with delays of up to 60 minutes between Stoke-On-Trent and Crewe.

In western England, a signalling problem caused delays to trains between Severn Beach and Bristol Temple Meads.