Days of despair for Thameslink commuters in St Albans

Thameslink train

Thameslink train - Credit: Archant

Delays continue for Thameslink commuters, who have already experienced two days of train chaos following issues with the overhead wires at Luton Station on Tuesday (8).

Trains were either cancelled or severely delayed going in and out of St Albans City from Tuesday afternoon, affecting countless people travelling in and out of London.

Many were left stranded at various stations on the Thameslink line for hours on Tuesday evening, and chaos continued throughout the following day.

A spokesman for Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) confirmed today (Thursday) that “major disruption to services is expected until the end of the day”.

The effect of the delays has rippled across the district, with many taking to the roads as an alternative form of travel resulting in gridlock on surrounding routes.

A limited service of up to one train per hour from Bedford to London St Pancras ran into Wednesday evening, forcing commuters to find alternative routes.

Thameslink Wimbledon and Sutton services into London Blackfriars were also affected while Sevenoaks services ran to Blackfriars and Victoria only.

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Trains from Brighton were disrupted and many passengers were forced to use alternative routes, including the Great Northern route from stations such as St Neots, Hitchin and Hatfield into London King’s Cross.

Cross-London services beyond St Pancras were also affected by the delays because of a ‘ripple effect’ across other Govia services.

A piece of cable came into contact with the overhead wires at approximately 2.45pm on Tuesday, causing a power failure and loss of signalling, affecting train services.

OLE (overhead line equipment) is what powers electric trains but in this case the signalling - the traffic lights of the railway - has been affected too.

The wires that power trains ‘tripped’ but were intact and were not ‘ripped down’.

National Rail, which is responsible for the repairs, will continue to try and fix the problem today (Thursday), but signalling problems will continue even after it is fixed.

Rob McIntosh, route managing director for Network Rail, said: “I am sorry for the continued disruption to passengers. I know this situation is immensely frustrating and our engineers are working to resume services as quickly as possible.”

A Thameslink spokesperson said: “We’d like to apologise for the continued severe disruption so many of our passengers are experiencing. While Network Rail is working on the problem we urge people to check travel advice at and use alternative transport wherever possible.

“We are doing all we can to keep people updated through our web, app and Twitter feed and have extra staff out on the ground.”

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