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Major delays expected on WCML following blaze

Services between Watford Junction and London Euston have been halted this morning after a huge fire broke out near the line in the early hours of Friday morning.

The fire broke out at a timber yard and commercial property at Chantry Place, Harrow. Fifty firefighters were called to the scene last night to tackle the blaze.

According to the Guardian, passengers on a London Midland service from Euston to Milton Keynes had to be evacuated from the train at Headstone Lane, and were then provided with taxis to get them to their onward destination.

“Owing to a fire in a commercial property next to the railway line near Harrow, train services between Watford Junction and London Euston are not running,” a spokesperson for Network Rail confirmed.

“Passengers wanting to travel on the West Coast Main Line (WCML) and West London Line are urged to check with their train operator or before travelling as disruption and cancellations are to expected throughout the day.

“The safety of passengers and staff is our priority. We are working with our partners at London Midland, Southern, Virgin Trains West Coast, Caledonian Sleeper and the emergency services to update passengers as when more information becomes available.”

Network Rail also confirmed that the fire had damaged a trackside retaining wall that was now in danger of collapse. A statement explained that it will now be dismantled, made safe and rebuilt.

The property where the fire started is situated right next to Headstone Lane train station and passengers across a number of TOCs will be facing severe disruption today.

A spokesman for London Midland added: “While  the emergency services are dealing with the fire it simply isn't possible to run trains through the area. The fire closed the mainline around 00:30 last night.”

London Midlands also urged passengers delayed by 30 minutes or more to apply for compensation for their late service.

Virgin Trains has confirmed that other operators are accepting tickets so that passengers can take alternative routes this morning.

The cause of the fire is currently unknown.

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Robert Nix   15/09/2017 at 17:30

I cannot understand why at least some trains could not run between Watford Junction and Milton Keynes. Attitude of mind, I guess.

Huguenot   15/09/2017 at 17:59

It's always the same. If there is an emergency, trains are always halted over a longer length than necessary. Watford Junc could probably not have handled all services terminating there but, as Robert says, LM could have run some services to and from Watford. London Overground could even have run a shuttle between Watford Junc and Hatch End, where there is a crossover on the DC lines.

Andrew JG   15/09/2017 at 22:16

London Underground Bakerloo Line and London Overground Watford-Euston DC line were also affected.

Nick   16/09/2017 at 15:49

This type of incident, plus the inevitable major disruption when Euston is being rebuilt for HS2 should be drivers into the justification for the Metropolitan Line Extension to Watford Junction being built. Suggestions have been made to linking the WCML commuter tracks to Old Oak + Crossrail, but without major demolition, or bulldozing Kensal Rise Cemetery, this seems extremely unlikely.

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