Trains in slower than walking pace delays

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COMMUTERS travelling into London were delayed for up to an hour last Wednesday morning following a points failure,

Many travellers arrived late into work after operator London Midland was forced to run an extra 15 trains per hour on the single slow line between Leighton Buzzard and Watford Junction.

The fault occurred at 7.45pm at Bourne End, between Berkhamsted and Hemel Hempstead, blocking the route for fast trains heading into London.

Northbound slow trains, which had to receive additional permission before they could pass the junction, were also delayed.

Trains into London were diverted onto the slow line while engineers carried out repairs.

This meant an extra 15 trains per hour sharing the line, leading to severe congestion.

Network Rail engineers attended the site at 8.05am, but despite conducting an initial repair within half-an-hour they didn’t fix the problem leading to the fault recurring at 8.55am.

The line was not fully operational again until 1.15pm.

One commuter said: “I didn’t get into work until 9.30am.

“The train was going so slowly we could have got out and walked faster.

“The announcer did get the information across, but the main problem was it was so hot inside the carriage.

“The heaters were on full blast and everyone was really struggling with the temperature.

“One woman opposite me was pregnant and she was very hot. I had a headache for the rest of the day as a result, so I dread to think how she must have felt.”

A spokesman for London Midland said: “We are very sorry if you were caught up in the disruption affecting trains on Wednesday 12 January on the Euston line.

“At around 7.45am, the points failed at Bourne End between Berkhamsted and Hemel Hempstead. This is a key point on the Euston line where trains can cross between the fast and the slow lines.

“The fault blocked the route for fast trains heading into London, and delayed northbound slow trains which had to receive additional permission from the signaller before passing the junction.

“Our priority during the morning peak period was to run as many trains as possible into London.

“While this inevitably added to congestion, this was necessary to ensure everyone could get on a train to London – even if delayed.

“After the peak, we introduced our standard contingency timetable.

“This involves cancelling two Tring services per hour and stopping other trains additionally at Kings Langley and Apsley.

“Virgin and Southern also cancelled services to ease congestion.

“As soon as the line reopened, we reinstated the full service.”