Commuters set to feel more pain as points failure derails trains to and from London Euston
Evening rush-hour warning to those heading home on West Coast Mainline
Train services into and out of London Euston are in meltdown on Tuesday lunchtime (March 10) after a major points failure added to problems that have dogged the network since Saturday.
Just when commuters thought things could not get any worse, a fault at Hanslope Junction blocked the line between Northampton and Milton Keynes at around 10am.
That halted all London Northwestern Railway and Avanti West Coast services through the area for around five hours.
Network Rail engineers identified a broken data connection, preventing signallers in the West Coast Mainline control room 30 miles in Rugby knowing what position the points are actually set in.
Latest estimates had the line reopening at 3pm but with trains running at slower speeds and operators warn there are likely to be considerable knock-on effects from the disruption heading into the evening rush hour with rolling stock and train crew not where they are supposed to be.
London Northwestern arranged coaches to ferry passengers between Milton Keynes, Northampton and Wellingborough and National Rail have issued strong advice for passengers to check the National Rail journey planner before travelling.
Long-suffering commuters' patience has already worn thin after two days of disruption following damage to overhead power cables in North London on Saturday led to fewer trains being able to run and more overcrowding.
Repair work on a stretch of damaged power cables at South Kenton was due to be finished at 6am this morning but a last-minute inspection revealed more damage that prevented train operators reinstating a full timetable until tomorrow.
A spokesman for London Northwestern Railway, which runs commuter services through Northampton, Milton Keynes, Tring, Berkhamsted and Hemel Hempstead, said: "The problem was only highlighted 15 minutes before the affected line was due to be reopened.
"Until the overhead lines at this location are fully fixed, train services will continue to be subject to delays and cancellation."
"Severe disruption is expected throughout the day. We're extremely sorry for any delay and inconvenience this causes you."