Emergency engineering work will lead to major disruption for passengers on the line between Alton and Farnham tomorrow. It is understood that keeping the line running could put passenger safety at risk. An unstable embankment is blamed and it is not clear when it will reopen. Buses will replace trains on the key commuter route.
This statement has just been issued by Network Rail:
Network Rail is advising passengers to check before they travel as its engineers have begun emergency repair work to a railway embankment between Farnham in Surrey and Alton in Hampshire.
Network Rail’s orange army has been monitoring the stability of this embankment and has taken the decision to temporarily close the line following the weather forecast of heavy rain tonight, which could further affect the embankment’s stability.
The temporary closure will allow engineers to investigate the source of the issues and begin the process of fixing the problem. By temporarily closing the line it will ensure the safety of passengers and minimise the risk of any unplanned closures in the future. Unfortunately due to the early stage of the investigation work, it is not possible to predict at this time when the line will reopen.
Network Rail apologises for the inconvenience caused, but the safety of passengers must always be its highest priority. During the temporary closure, South West Trains is running a replacement bus service from Farnham to Alton, calling at Bentley. Passengers are advised to check before they travel through National Rail Enquiries or South West Trains.
Critics say it has been a disaster and, tonight, are calling for our privatised rail network to return to public ownership.Read the full story ›
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The boss of South West Trains says rail privatisation has been a success but admits some trains are too overcrowded.
Tim Shoveller, the company's Managing Director, hit back at critics who say handing over the rails to the private sector - 20 years ago - was a disaster.
Mr Shoveller started his career as a guard at Guildford 25 years ago.
He says passenger numbers have doubled to over 600,000 a day and SWT is now by far the busiest commuter railway in Europe. He says there has been record investment.
But he admits trains are overcrowded at busy times and measures are needed to urgently reduce the problem. He spoke exclusively to our Transport Correspondent Mike Pearse
It's been twenty years since the first rail companies, South West Trains and Great Western, were privatised.
They say it's been a major success with passenger numbers doubled and billions spent on new trains and stations.
But rail unions are calling for the companies to be put back into the public sector.
Trains running between Brockenhurst and Bournemouth are expected to be subject to delays until at least 11am today according to South West Trains.
The line was closed last night due to flooding causing major disruption for passengers. Although the line has been reopened trains are subject to speed restrictions.
- Trains between Brockenhurst and Bournemouth are being delayed by up to 30 minutes
- Electric trains are unable to run from Southampton to Bournemouth, buses are replacing these trains
- South West Trains passengers travelling to intermediate stations from Southampton should travel via Bournemouth. Passengers travelling to Bournemouth from intermediate stations should travel via Southampton
- Some services may be cancelled due to trains not been in the correct place at the end of service last night
#IncidentSWT the line is open to diesel trains, but they are limited to 5mph in places and delays are expected.
South West Trains has apologised for the disruption and suggested that their passengers may use CrossCountry between Southampton and Bournemouth.
The hashtag on social media for the incident is #Brockenhurst.
The routes affected are:
CrossCountry between Manchester Piccadilly / Birmingham New Street and Bournemouth.
South West Trains between London Waterloo and Weymouth and between Brockenhurst and Lymington Pier
There is no service on South West Trains London bound between Havant and Haslemere due to icy rail conditions.
Ice has formed on the rail which supplies power to trains meaning no trains can operate at the moment.
Delays of up to 40 minutes on South West Trains between Aldershot and Ascot due to poor rail conditions at Camberley.
Delays of up to 30 minutes on South West Trains between London Waterloo and Wimbledon due to broken down train at Earlsfield. London Underground are accepting tickets for reasonable routes. expected until 10am.
As usual trains at Basingstoke are crowded, but at least they're on time. A typical example was the 0759 to Waterloo.
South West Trains issued an apology after a day of massive disruption yesterday hit many of the 500,000 people who use its services every day.
Passengers faced five-hour delays after a person was hit by a train, stopping all services into Waterloo.