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Commuters face rush-hour rail chaos

Rail commuters heading into London following the bank holiday are facing severe delays on one of the UK’s key train routes.

Overhead wire problems between Peterborough and Stevenage caused extensive disruption to services on the East Coast main line heading into London King’s Cross yesterday and engineers worked through the night to repair the damage.

The problems have affected a number of train operators who have warned passengers the issue will continue throughout today, with severe delays and cancellations .

An East Coast spokesman said: “Due to severe overhead line damage last evening between Peterborough and Stevenage, significant disruption is anticipated at the start of today’s East Coast services.

“Network Rail engineers have been working through the night to restore the overhead power lines, however, it is currently unlikely that this work will be completed in time for the start of this morning’s services. As a consequence, East Coast trains are expected to be severely restricted, and cancellations are likely throughout the day.

“Customers are advised to defer travel until later in the day, or alternatively, to travel tomorrow if possible. Tickets dated for travel on Monday or Tuesday will be valid for travel on Wednesday and customers are advised to try to travel as close as possible to their original booked time.

“East Coast is very sorry for the inevitable disruption this will cause to your travel plans, and is working hard with its infrastructure provider Network Rail to resume a good service.”

The spokesman added the line was blocked due to an overhead wire problem, which is about five miles from Peterborough.

Additional staff are being brought in, including at King’s Cross, but he said the main problems were with passengers heading south rather than out of the capital.

Customers delayed by more than 30 minutes are eligible for compensation under East Coast’s delay repay scheme. Further details can be found on the East Coast website, www.eastcoast.co.uk.

Last night, First Capital Connect services between Peterborough and King’s Cross were running between Huntingdon and London King’s Cross only and the problems also affected F irst Hull Trains services.

First Hull Trains issued advice to passengers which said: “Owing to overhead wire problems between Grantham and London King’s Cross all lines are blocked.

“Impact: Train services running to and from these stations may be cancelled or delayed at short notice.”

Frustrated passengers vented their fury on Twitter last night.

Gemma Chandler said: ” I’ve been sitting on a stationary train at Peterborough for 1hr45mins & we haven’t had an announcement update for 55mins.”

Amy Firth posted: ” It’s carnage here at Peterborough with masses still attempting to get on this train. any updates??.”

A Network Rail spokeswoman said the problem was reported at 6.10pm.

She said a train was stuck at the scene without power and arrangements were under way to bring another service alongside to enable passengers to be transferred.

She added it was not known at this time what caused the overhead wire problem, but engineers were working to fix the fault.

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