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  1. ITV Report

South Western Railway passengers told not to travel after over-running engineering works causes chaos

  • Video report by ITV News correspondent Richard Pallot

Passengers on some of the busiest rail routes in the country were hit by cancellations because of over-running engineering works on Monday morning.

No South Western Railway trains were running between Surbiton and London Waterloo - the UK’s busiest railway station.

It is the latest disruption to hit SWR following a spate of problems involving signal and points failures.

Normally-packed commuter trains were cancelled after Network Rail's engineering works were delayed, leaving tens of thousands of passengers stranded.

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A long-running dispute over the role of guards on trains has also crippled services because of strikes.

A message to passengers said: "We have been informed of over-running Network Rail engineering works between London Waterloo and Surbiton. This means that trains cannot run between London Waterloo and Surbiton.

"Customers are advised not to travel. Woking, Surbiton, Raynes Park and Earlsfield stations are currently closed.

"Disruption is expected until the end of the day. Until the works clear no trains can leave Wimbledon or Clapham Junction depots."

Rail passengers queuing for their train on Monday morning. Credit: PA

A Department of Transport spokesperson said: "We share the frustrations of passengers trying to get into London this morning.

"The disruption is unacceptable, and we are seeking an urgent explanation from Network Rail as to why their engineering works at Surbiton have overrun."

A South Western Railway spokesman said: "Passengers are asked to delay the start of their journeys this morning as all lines from Surbiton into Waterloo are blocked due to over-running engineering works.

"Network Rail engineers are working hard to reopen the lines as soon as possible but passengers are advised to check the website before starting their journey as currently services are having to be cancelled and diverted.

"We are sorry for the disruption and will update our website as soon as we have a clearer picture of when lines may reopen."

Southern services between East Croydon and London Victoria were also disrupted because of over-running engineering works.

RMT general secretary called for Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to resign Credit: Nick Ansell/PA

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union called for the resignation of Transport Secretary Chris Grayling because of the latest travel chaos.

General secretary Mick Cash said: "While the crisis on our railways deepens, the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is markedly absent while he ponders his self-interest and a possible resignation from the May Government. He should go, and he should go now."

London Waterloo Station in the early hours of Monday morning. Credit: Lockworm/ Twitter

A Network Rail spokesman said: "We would like to apologise for the disruption to passengers’ journeys on South Western this morning. This is due to over-running engineering works in the Hampton Court area.

"Currently all four lines are blocked and no trains are able to run between Surbiton and Waterloo. Network Rail workers are on site and hope to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

"Passengers are urged to check before they travel via National Rail Enquiries or with their train operator."

Passengers were also told trains across the whole Southern and Thameslink network may be delayed, cancelled or revised on Monday morning due to over-running engineering work at various locations, with disruption continuing until noon.

A message to passengers said: "Your journey time will be significantly longer this morning. Where possible, please travel via alternative routes."

Departure boards at London Waterloo Station. Credit: PA

Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said: "Passengers rely on the railway – this morning tens of thousands of passengers coming into Waterloo could not.

"While engineering and improvement works need to be done, such late notice of the fundamental problems on the approaches to Waterloo this morning is unacceptable.

Stephen Hicks, who works at the University of Southampton shared a picture of all the cancellations in and out of London Waterloo station on Monday morning.

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Mr Hicks said the cancellations affects so many people working who "need to travel to work" before adding, "you can't allow this to happen again".

Meanwhile, SWR announced there will be an amended timetable in place on Saturday because of another RMT strike in the guards’ dispute.