Rail passengers were left stranded at stations and stuck on trains for several hours last night after overhead electricity wires were damaged.
The problems began shortly before 7pm near Cambridge and led to chaos with several lines to and from the city being blocked.
Some passengers were stuck for more than three hours, others had to be evacuated from trains by British Transport Police and several reported their days had been ‘ruined.’
The cables had been repaired by Wednesday morning but the disruption continued, with many services running through Cambridge being cancelled and Network rail warning disruption could last into the afternoon.
As problems unfolded, Great Northern released a photograph showing a pantograph – a device which normally sits on train roofs to collect electricity from wires – on the ground next to a train.
Another image showed loose electric wires draped over the side of a train.
The firm said the power was switched off.
Services operated by Great Northern, CrossCountry and Greater Anglia were all affected by the disruption.
Passenger Colin Chang sent a tweet to Greater Anglia at 10.54pm which read: ‘Was meant to get back to Cambridge North at 18:58 but now having to get an Uber to get there.
‘Being stuck on the train for 3+ hours with bad communication is not a great look. I’ve already filed for compensation but I’m not optimistic. Ruined my day.’
Another frustrated traveller, named Lee, wrote a message to CrossCountry stating: ‘Can you please explain why, given that I’ve been sat on your train from Stansted to Birmingham for over three hours when it should’ve arrived at my destination almost two hours ago, I haven’t been offered the alternative of a taxi to my destination?’
The firm replied that taxis were waiting at Cambridge for passengers on his train to take them to their destinations.
Ben Connor sent a tweet to Great Northern which read: ‘Is there any information on when more than one or two taxis, or a bus will be arriving at Royston.
‘Have been here for 1.5 hours trying to get to Cambridge, there are dozens of people here stranded.’
Ellie Burrows, Network Rail’s route director for Anglia, said: ‘We’re very sorry to passengers who have had their journeys disrupted by this issue, particularly those on trains stranded as a result.
‘We’ve worked with the train operators to safely take passengers from the stranded trains to continue their onward journeys as soon as possible.
‘We carried out work overnight to repair the wires and the line has now reopened.’
A Greater Anglia spokeswoman said: ‘We apologise for the disruption on our West Anglia route last night. This was due to significant damage to the overhead wires in the Cambridge area.
‘The incident happened at around 7pm, and as result, trains were unable to run through the affected area.
‘Two of our services – the 5.13pm London Liverpool Street to Cambridge and the 5.37pm London Liverpool Street to Cambridge North – were safely evacuated and alternative arrangements made so passengers could complete their journeys. Neither train was full.
‘Network Rail engineers worked through the night to repair the damage and services started to run from 9am today.
‘We are very sorry for the disruption caused to passengers. Anyone who was affected by the delays can claim delay repay via: http://www.greateranglia.co.uk/delayrepay.’
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