Rats on the line bring trains to a halt

PUBLISHED: 12:04 19 January 2006 | UPDATED: 20:19 03 May 2010

THIS time is wasn't leaves on the line or even snow which brought chaos to rail commuters. It was a more unusual reason - a rat on the line, or at least one which chewed through a power cable last Thursday morning. The damage caused a major signal failure

THIS time is wasn't leaves on the line or even snow which brought chaos to rail commuters. It was a more unusual reason - a rat on the line, or at least one which chewed through a power cable last Thursday morning. The damage caused a major signal failure at Chiltern Green between Luton and Harpenden and resulted in early-morning peak Thameslink services from Luton to St Albans being reduced to just two trains an hour with no services at all from Harpenden. To compound the problem, It was decided to bus Harpenden passengers to Hitchin because of congestion at St Albans City Station. But they faced further delays when the main road, the dual-carriageway A505, was closed at Offley because of accidents caused by ice on the road. The problems caused by the rat knawing at the cable were discovered soon after midnight on Wednesday and engineers from Network Rail completed repairs at around 7.30am. But by then morning peak services had been completely disrupted. Thameslink spokesperson Chris Hudson said: "It was a bad morning and by the time the signalling problems were solved most of our trains and drivers were out of position and it took a considerable time to get services back to normal. "Unfortunately the passengers who were being taken to Hitchin faced a double whammy." During the partial shut-down, Thameslink operated four trains an hour between St Albans and Sutton. A spokesperson for Network Rail said: "We would like to apologise to passengers for the delays.

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