Trains disrupted after tracks fire

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A tracks fire caused major disruption on the Portsmouth-London rail line today.

South West Trains said services to Waterloo were delayed by up to an hour after the incident at Vauxhall station in London.

The company said that problems were expected to continue until the end of the day.

A SWT spokesman said: ‘Five out of eight main lines are closed through Vauxhall and a very limited service will operate until all lines have reopened.

‘Passengers are strongly advised to use alternative routes to travel into London.

‘All routes to and from London Waterloo are subject to delays of up to 60 minutes.

‘London Waterloo to Portsmouth services may start and terminate at Woking or Guildford.’

Firefighters were called at 2.39am and were this morning still dealing with the fire.

The blaze affected electrical cabling and the power to the tacks has been switched off.

Trains in and out of Vauxhall and Waterloo station were disrupted and passengers have been warned to check the latest travel.

South West Trains said it had limited services and asked travellers to use alternative routes into London.

Tickets will be accepted on Southern, Great Western Railway and Transport for London services.

London Fire Brigade station manager John Ryan said: “Once the power was isolated firefighters quickly got to work to tackle the fire.

“We’re currently assessing how much electrical cabling has been affected and damping down pockets of fire.

“The fire will impact on travel this morning and we’d ask people to check before they travel.”

The Fire Brigade said the cause of the fire was being investigated.

South West Trains has issued detailed information about the travel disruption, which is expected to continue until 10am.

Trains that run through Vauxhall station may be cancelled, delayed by up to 60 minutes or revised as the rail company is only able to use five out of eight main lines.

A statement said it would “be running a very limited service until all lines are reopened” after the fire was reported to have broken out by platforms three and four.

Trains between London Waterloo and Windsor & Eton Riverside, Hounslow and Twickenham and Kingston and Richmond are affected and will either terminate or start at Clapham Junction.

Trains from Farnham to London Waterloo via Ascot services departing at 21 and 51 minutes past will not run and neither will services from Shepperton to London Waterloo via Twickenham departing at 00 and 30 minutes past.

London Waterloo to Reading and London Waterloo to Weybridge services will run as scheduled in both directions.

The train company some suburban lines may also suffer disruptions.

South West Trains said its services were being severely disrupted and urged passengers only to travel if “absolutely necessary”.

Passengers were left stranded at stations across the network, with those who did manage to get on a train saying services were “dangerously full”.

Police evacuated a major train station after it became overcrowded because of the disruption. Southern Railway services stopped calling at Clapham Junction at about 8.45am today after a fire at Vauxhall station.

Clapham Junction reopened half an hour later, a Southern spokesman said.

The rush hour chaos came as reduced train services due to a lack of conductors were set to continue for the rest of the day.

A Southern spokesman said the staff shortage - now in its second day in a row - was likely to affect coastal routes until 10am, with other routes likely to be affected.

South West Trains will accept Southern Ticket holders betwen Portsmouth/Southampton to London and between Portsmouth/Havant & Southampton.

Southern services between Brighton and Southampton Central were yesterday cancelled after a ‘unusually high’ level of sickness among conductors.

A spokesman for Southern GTR said the disruption was likely to last for the rest of the week.

This followed a RMT conductors’ strike on Tuesday last week (April 26). Talks between the union and company stalled on Friday.

Meanwhile, a series of incidents on motorways caused travel misery for drivers as well.

A 10-mile queue was reported on the M25 between junctions 24 and 23 at South Mimms because of an overturned van.

One lane of the motorway was blocked near junction 6 due to a broken-down van.

An accident in roadworks led to delays on the M3 London-bound at junction 3.

Three lorries were involved in an accident on the M26 before junction 2A for the A20 (Wrotham/Brands Hatch), blocking two lanes.

And a broken-down lorry blocked a lane on the A3 into south-west London.

Picture: London Fire Brigade