On Wednesday morning, train services were facing delays to one of the main stations serving Olympics Games spectators and another major London terminus. Due to operating problems, travellers were stuck outside London Bridge station for about 30 minutes. There were also delays at Cannon Street station, on the Tube, as well as on the main line between St Pancras and Stratford.
The operating problems at London Bridge led to delays for Southern trains running in and out of the station during the morning rush-hour. A Southern Railway spokesman said the delays were due to a train being signalled into the wrong platform at the station. The train of ten carriages arrived at a platform only big enough for a train with eight carriages. This meant the train had to be sent back down the track, causing congestion, he added. Because of this, services didn’t return to normal until about 8:30am – nearly 30 minutes later.
London Bridge is one of the major Olympic hubs and deals with arriving commuters in the morning and spectators leaving to see Games events. However, this wasn’t the only spot that suffered issues on Wednesday. A signalling problem at Cannon Street station meant fewer trains in and out of the main London terminus. This caused Southeastern trains services to be affected. There were also problems on the Tube. A signal failure at Thurnham Green meant no District line services could be operated between Richmond/Ealing Broadway and Earls Court.
On top of this, a man threatened to jump from a bridge and onto the rail tracks at Dagenham Dock station. Professional counsellors and police arrived on the scene and successfully convinced the man to climb off the bridge. However, during the incident, Network Rail had to cut off the power on the high-speed rail line that runs from St Pancras to Stratford (where the Olympic Park is) and to the Channel Tunnel. The power for the adjacent track that runs from Fenchurch Street to Southend had to be shut off as well.
This incident meant that high-speed Olympic Javelin services were disrupted for over an hour-and-a-half. These trains carry 10% of the spectators en route to the Olympic Park. Services from Ebbsfleet were suspended altogether and the shuttle services between St Pancras and Stratford were severely delayed. Trains between Fenchurch Street and Southend were also suspended. Even Eurostar trains to the continent were delayed at St Pancras, and incoming services were terminated at Ashford. Despite the incident being resolved in under two hours, there were delays to services for much of the afternoon.
This follows Tuesday morning’s disruptions to services on the Tube. Services to Stratford station on the Central line were stopping at Liverpool Street due to a fire alert at Leyton station, where a train driver had smelled smoke. Part of the rail line had to be closed for about three hours, and several passengers had to wait in the rain for buses that would take them to their destinations.
Following the incident, the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union called for an immediate investigation into the impact of cuts on fleet maintenance schedules. It claims the cause of the line closure is due to the brakes on the Leyton train seizing up.
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