Chaos on the trains: Rush-hour passengers face severe delays after landslip grinds services to a halt

26 February 2024, 15:40 | Updated: 26 February 2024, 16:39

Commuters at one of the Britain's busiest railway stations are facing severe delays and widespread cancellations, as Monday morning's travel chaos continues following a major landslip.
Commuters at one of the Britain's busiest railway stations are facing severe delays and widespread cancellations, as Monday morning's travel chaos continues following a major landslip. Picture: Alamy

By Danielle De Wolfe

Train passengers across the south of the UK are facing severe delays and widespread cancellations during rush-hour as travel chaos continues following a major landslip.

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Commuters travelling to and from London Paddington are set to face major delays and cancellations into the evening, after the landslide and fallen tree rendered two of the four lines out of the station unusable.

All four lines between London and Reading were temporarily closed for an hour at around 14:30 on Monday in a bid to clear the tracks near Twyford, with Great Western Railways (GWR) warning of additional limited service between Swindon and Cheltenham Spa.

The travel chaos follows a yellow weather warning issued by the Met Office which stretched until late Monday morning, with high winds and a subsequent signal failure causing further delays.

GWR assured passengers the obstruction would be removed within hours, but admitted it will be running a revised timetable "until the end of the day," with a reduced service operating and extensive cancellations.

"Where possible GWR customers can use their tickets on Elizabeth Line, South Western Railway services and on the London Underground," wrote GWR in a statement.

It comes as TfL has also announced severe delays to sections of the Elizabeth Line following damage to overhead power cables at Burnham.

Commuters at one of the Britain's busiest railway stations are facing severe delays and widespread cancellations, as Monday morning's travel chaos continues following a major landslip.
Commuters at one of the Britain's busiest railway stations are facing severe delays and widespread cancellations, as Monday morning's travel chaos continues following a major landslip. Picture: Alamy

Trains across the South East of the UK have been blighted by disruption throughout the day.

Earlier today, a spokesperson for Network Rail said: "An issue has arisen with the state of some trees at the side of a cutting between Twyford and Reading where an unstable area of surrounding earth has been observed. Owing to its location, it is not an issue that can be easily resolved.

"Until the matter has been addressed, two of the four running lines in the area will be taken out of use and the remaining line capacity will not be able to carry the full advertised train service."

Commuters are advised to check before they travel.

The news follows widespread disruption across the network after a power failure struck shortly after 3am on Monday morning.

The outage continues to cause widespread delays across Southern and Thameslink services.

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Govia Thameslink was one of the worst affected services on Monday morning, with disruption expected to continue between East Croydon and Brighton well into the evening commute

Other services affected include the Gatwick Express, which saw all services cancelled on Monday morning and a reduced service continuing into rush-hour.

Southern added there had been points failures at both Haywards Heath and Hove which continues to affect services.

The route has now began operating a "limited service" between Gatwick and London Victoria from 09:40am, with the first service between Gatwick and Brighton still suspended until further notice.

Passengers have also been told to check with train operators before travelling to avoid being caught up in the disruption.

Services between Brighton and Chichester have also been reduced to one train an hour going into Monday afternoon, with no Thameslink services operating between Cambridge and Brighton.

Delays and cancellations also extend across Brighton, Portsmouth and Chichester routes.

By 7am, a limited number of services had resumed - however, all services between Littlehampton and London Victoria remain cancelled.

The route has now began operating a "limited service"  between Gatwick and London Victoria from 09:40am, with the first service between Gatwick and Brighton still suspended until further notice.
The route has now began operating a "limited service" between Gatwick and London Victoria from 09:40am, with the first service between Gatwick and Brighton still suspended until further notice. Picture: Alamy

A Network Rail spokesperson said: "At 03:04 there was a loss of power across some the UK Power Networks which significantly impacted our Three Bridges Signalling Centre which controls the signalling across the majority of our Sussex route.

"All signalling was restored at 06:30 and while some Southern services have resumed operating across the Sussex route, a number of Southern and Thameslink services remain significantly disrupted and there are currently no Gatwick Express services in operation until further notice.

"We're really sorry to any passengers disrupted this morning and we encourage passengers to check with their train operator before travelling for the latest information and updates."

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