Commuter chaos in London following Network Rail power failure

Commuter chaos in London following Network Rail power failure

LONDON — It was a scene of utter chaos on Thursday morning at London’s Victoria station, where rail officials confirmed a power failure to the signaling system.

Hundreds of thousands of commuters were affected by the complete closure of the main line from Brighton and Gatwick Airport to London Victoria, which is considered one of Britain’s busiest routes. Scores of commuters ended up missing their flights out of Gatwick; an estimated 125,000 passengers were booked to fly out of the airport today.

All Gatwick Express services have been cancelled until further notice. The operated tweeted: “Services are suspended due to total loss of power to Network Rail signaling system. Advise [sic] is do not travel where possible.”

According to the Independent, up to 80 fast and stopping trains per hour would normally be running through the area during rush hour. But no trains are operating on the link from Clapham Junction to East Croydon, with some Southern train being diverted via Crystal Palace. Balham, Streatham Common, Norbury, Thornton Heath and Selhurst stations are not being served at all.

Network Rail said: “Engineers have been working throughout the night to rectify the signaling issue however this has been unsuccessful so far. Engineers will continue to work throughout the day with all available resources to resolve the fault.”

It went on to say that a generator has been sourced and is expected to arrive at the signaling centre this morning. “Once the generator arrives, the situation will be reassessed.”

In addition to travellers flying out of Gatwick, the power failure also affected scores of tennis fans trying to reach the Wimbledon championships. Thameslink services were suspended between Luton and Wimbledon “until further notice”, said GTR, parent company of Southern, Thameslink and the Gatwick Express.

Said one senior rail source, “This is one of the worst disruptions ever.”