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Passengers urged to avoid London Waterloo as signal failure causes chaos

South West Trains said services across the whole of its network may be cancelled, delayed by up to 90 minutes or revised.

Passengers are being advised not to travel to the country’s busiest railway station because of a signal failure.

South West Trains said services across the whole of its network, including to and from London Waterloo, may be cancelled, delayed by up to 90 minutes or revised.

Disruption is expected until the end of the day.

A message to passengers said: “Our control room has confirmed that we have lost all signalling in the Earlsfield area and are not able to run trains into London Waterloo.

“Due to the location, this has taken place our ability to run a train service this morning has been severely hampered. Our engineers are on site and are working hard to restore the signalling so we are able to run trains.

“We strongly advise you not to travel towards London Waterloo. If you do travel, please consider alternative arrangements and use other train operating companies.”

“Some trains that commenced their journeys before this incident occurred, may be altered or revised at short notice. Some trains may also be diverted via an alternative route.”

SWT had already warned of disruption because of a track defect on a set of points between Woking and Surbiton, which blocked the London-bound fast line.

The disruption comes just weeks before the start of major work to extend platforms at Waterloo, which will lead to three weeks of delays.

Stagecoach has lost the franchise to run SWT, with a consortium of the First Group and Hong Kong based MTR taking over next month.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “Owing to a major signalling failure overnight, mainline services through Clapham Junction to Waterloo will be delayed or cancelled this morning.

“While our engineers fixed the fault at around 5.30am, knock-on cancellations and delays of up to 90 minutes will continue throughout the morning. We advise passengers to avoid travelling until after 9am if possible.

Tube services in London were also disrupted after engineering work overran.

Mick Cash, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, said: “The state of transport services right across London this morning serves is the clearest possible warning to this Government that their policy of hacking back the budgets of both Network Rail and Transport for London is dragging Tube and rail in the capital city into permanent chaos.

“This situation cannot go on. RMT has warned repeatedly that hacking back on maintenance and renewals leaves vital services on a knife edge.

“The Government should reverse their cuts programme and invest in the future while there is still time.”

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