Network Rail is blamed for the rise in signalling errors and equipment failures / AFP/Getty

Passengers suffer up to 90-minute delays

A new year back at work, a new year of Network Rail engineering works to contend with.

At London Bridge, another area where there has been engineering work over the festive period, there were signal problems causing delays of up to 30 minutes to all services to and from the station.

Train passengers on Cross Country and First Great Western services had been warned to expect an overrun on planned work between Weston-super-Mare and Bristol Temple Meads until approximately 7.30am.

This meant that buses replaced trains between the two stations with journey times extended by up to 60 minutes.

A Network Rail spokesman said there was expected to be an over-run of 60-90 minutes which would affect one or two trains, which would be replaced by buses.

“It is an inconvenience but people will still be able to make their journey,” he said.

He said Taunton to London services would not be affected.

There were chaotic scenes in London on December 27 when a Network Rail (NR) overrun led to the closure of King's Cross and Paddington stations.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said the overrun was totally unacceptable, and NR and the Office of Rail Regulation have both launched inquiries.

The NR inquiry report is expected to be completed by the end of this week.

Next week NR chief executive Mark Carne, who has said he is not taking his annual bonus, is due to appear before the House of Commons Transport Committee to explain the Christmas difficulties.

There were other problems for rush-hour train travellers. A signalling problem at Merstham in Surrey prevented trains towards London from stopping at Redhill, Merstham or Coulsdon South.

This affected passengers travelling on Southern and Thameslink services.

Another signalling problem, near Eaglescliffe in County Durham, meant buses had to replace trains between Middlesbrough and Darlington stations during the morning peak.

A broken-down train at Harrow & Wealdstone in north west London led to delays between London and Milton Keynes Central in Buckinghamshire.

Services between Weston and Bristol were back to normal by around 8.15am but

These hold-ups were expected to continue until at least 10am.

In the West Midlands a broken-down freight train at Bloxwich meant no trains could run between Rugeley Trent Valley and Walsall.