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Major delays after train derails on landslip near Watford

Passengers are warned to expect major delays in southern England all day after a train derailed on a landslip at Watford Junction this morning.

Part of the train left the tracks after it hit the landslip, caused by torrential rain, at the north end of the Watford Tunnel shortly after 7am.

The train remained upright and no passenger injuries have been reported, but another train heading in the opposite direction had a glancing blow with it soon afterwards.

Passengers are now being removed from the train before engineers remove it from the tracks.

Some services are running through the area, but passengers between Milton Keynes and London Euston should expect cancellations, revised timetables and delays of up to 20 minutes until the end of the day.

Virgin is offering its passengers tickets on alternate routes and road transport at Milton Keynes and Hemel Hempstead.

London Midland said passengers should not travel unless it is absolutely unnecessary, whilst Southern, which has suffered from persistent delays this year, said passenger tickets would be accepted on London Underground services.

Martin Frobisher, route managing director for Network Rail, said: “Our priority is to reopen the railway as soon as it is safe to do so. A full investigation into what happened will take place.”

The heavy rain over last night has also caused disruptions across southern England. Didcot Parkway station is underwater and lightning damaged signalling equipment near Slough.

There are flooding-related delays on the Alton-London Waterloo, Guildford-Ascot and Reading – Westbury routes and the Bournemouth area.

Heavy rain in June led to landslips on routes in Yorkshire and between Buxton and Hazel Grove.

For full information about the disruptions, see the National Rail website.

(Image c. Steve Parsons from PA Wire and Press Association Images)

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Andrew Gwilt   16/09/2016 at 11:05

Was the landslip occurred on the WCML fast lines or the slow lines which has caused severe disruptions to Virgin Trains, London Midland and Caledonia Sleeper services.

FB   16/09/2016 at 15:36

Under very severe weather conditions, as experienced recently, does not Network Rail maintain a vigilant surveillance of tracks in sensitive areas, e.g., steep embankments and cuttings?

Railway Ronnie   16/09/2016 at 16:21

To answer Andrew's question, the curvature of the tracks indicates that it is the north end of the tunnel on the Slow Lines that is shown in the picture. Obviously Network Rail does carry out regular inspections of its lines, but considering the weather in the Watford area just before the derailment, the earth slippage most probably occurred only shortly before the train arrived. I would suggest there would not have been much visual indication of the problem beforehand.

Andrew Gwilt   16/09/2016 at 21:30

So to be fair the landslip actually occurred on the embankment of the north portal tunnel north of Watford on the slow lines on the WCML as it was caused from torrential rain and 2 people were injured as the train derailed as a result which could of travelled about 45-50mph.

Hugh   17/09/2016 at 02:54

I love the quote "London Midland said passengers should not travel unless it is absolutely unnecessary,"

Chris M   17/09/2016 at 03:36

More by luck than judgement, this will be recorded as an incident rather than a serious crash with fatalities. It could have been much worse inside that tunnel.

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