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Engineering works bring misery for South Western Rail passengers

Commuters piling onto trains after an abundance of cancellations Photo: ITV Meridan
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Passengers on some of the busiest rail routes across the South are being warned not to travel on Monday morning because of over-running engineering works.

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.

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

"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.

"The Network Rail engineering works were originally due to be cleared by 04.30 this morning; however, the works will now not be cleared until 08.30 at the earliest.

"Until the works clear no trains can leave Wimbledon or Clapham Junction depots."

– A message to passengers from SWR

Normally-packed commuter trains were cancelled, leaving tens of thousands of passengers stranded.

Some passengers took to social media to vent their anger.

All trains to Waterloo are cancelled Credit: Moin Alam

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.

"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."

– A South Western Railway spokesman

“We are very sorry to passengers for the serious disruptions to services on the South Western Railway network today.

“This was caused by our overrunning engineering work near Surbiton which meant we were unable to open a number of lines into Waterloo station until after 0930.

“We are working hard to return the train service to normal as soon as possible, but passengers should expect serious disruption for the rest of the day and continue to check before they travel.”

– Network Rail

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

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

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

"The chaos into Waterloo this morning is just another example of the fragmentation and division on Britain's privatised railways where maintenance schedules and budgets are hacked to the bare bones while private operators like SWR are left with a free hand to rob the network blind in the name of profit.

"What we need is reintegration and a coherent system with all elements of the rail operation working together in one publicly-owned framework, with investment rather than exploitation as the watchword.

"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."

– General secretary Mick Cash

"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."

– Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus

Our reporter Richard Slee, has been out to some of the South's train stations.