Further rush-hour chaos as cracked rail causes huge delays for Southeastern customers

4 February 2020, 16:41

Social media photos showed commuters piling into overcrowded trains
Social media photos showed commuters piling into overcrowded trains. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

London commuters are facing severe delays after trains were suspended at two London stations.

Southeastern trains servicing Charing Cross and Waterloo East were suspended after a crack was found in the track.

The rail operator later confirmed that work on the broken track is due to happen overnight, meaning that the train chaos is expected to last until tomorrow morning.

In a statement on Twitter, Southeastern said: "UPDATE: There will be a significantly reduced service from Charing Cross during rush-hour this evening, due to repairs to the railway at New Cross."

During rush hour on Tuesday morning, commuters were facing travel chaos.

Images posted on social media showed people cramming into packed train carriages.

At 8.15am, Southeastern said the track had been repaired and some services would be reinstated, but also warned: "Trains may still be delayed, revised or cancelled."

Trains to Charing Cross are severely reduced, with speed restrictions meaning that only 10 trains will run per hour, rather than the usual 20.

Southeastern said trains unable to serve Charing Cross and Waterloo East would be diverted to London Victoria or London Cannon Street.

Passengers have instead been encouraged to take London Underground services at no extra cost between Victoria, Embankment, Blackfriars, Cannon Street, Charing Cross, Waterloo, Southwark, London Bridge, Canning Town and Elephant & Castle.

Thameslink services are also affected between Bedford, Luton and Rainham.

Network Rail posted a Twitter thread explaining Southeastern and Thameslink services would be disrupted due to a cracked rail near New Cross.

The operator explained: "We're working on a plan to run trains around the problem but it's not a normal rail, so it's not an easy fix...

"One track crosses over another... we have to cut it out and replace it with a new part."

Further confusion was created for some passengers by the Network Rail app, which appeared to show trains in service that had been cancelled.

"Why does your app still show trains that according to the board on the platform aren't even running today @Se_Railway," asked @DrSabineMN.

"Check before you travel... bit of a joke!"

Images posted to social media showed huge delays this morning
Images posted to social media showed huge delays this morning. Picture: PA

Multiple travellers posted images of busy platforms and people struggling to fit into overcrowded carriages as a result of the delays, with one passenger branding the problems a "national disgrace".

Freelance designer Ellie, 39, asked: "Wondering how such a big crack in the line could suddenly appear @networkrail. Surely you work on preventing these sorts of things to appear?

"It shouldn't be THIS hard to get to work. Network Rail and Southeastern trains are unfit for service."

She said: "They've stopped about 70% of trains into London Bridge and Charing Cross. This, on top of Southeastern incompetence, leaves thousands of people not able to get to work.

"Southeastern trains are delayed every day. I honestly haven't caught a train on time since October. As a daily freelancer, it makes my life very stressful."

Twitter user Nick Cook posted a picture of large crowds on a platform, saying: "@Se_Railway this what we're confronted with. National disgrace."