One of Britain’s five busiest railway stations closed completely for the evening rush hour. No trains are currently were able to run into or out of London Euston for several hours due to a fire next to the track near South Hampstead, two miles outside the terminus.
The fire caused a power cut which affected the station and signalling system.
A limited service began to run soon after 7pm, with a London-Manchester train, but passengers were told: "Any trains departing London Euston station are likely to be very busy tonight. You are advised to travel via an alternative route where possible, or delay your journey until tomorrow."
Some passengers who were on trains heading for Euston when the fire broke out reached the station over three hours late.
Virgin Trains, which runs services to Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow, said: “Customers are able to use alternative routes where available but are advised to check before travelling.”
Other train operators, including East Midlands Trains, Chiltern Railways, Virgin Trains East Coast, Northern, Transpennine Express and Great Western Railway “are conveying passengers via any reasonable route until further notice,” according to Virgin.
London Midland, which runs commuter and some longer-distance services from Euston, has agreed that its tickets will be accepted on East Midlands Trains, Chiltern Railways and Cross Country, though it says: “The advice is to avoid travelling on these routes if possible.”
Disruption is likely to continue until the end of services around midnight. London Underground services did not call at Euston in order to ease crowding.
During a normal afternoon and evening, around 70,000 passengers would be expected to travel through Euston.
The British Transport Police Federation tweeted: “Euston station shut no trains running North, overheads down. Well done BTP Euston assisting with crowds of disgruntled passengers.”
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