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Points failure at London’s Waterloo station causes travel delays

Engineering works at the UK’s busiest station have already caused considerable disruption.

A points failure outside Britain’s busiest railway station caused fresh delays to services already disrupted by a huge improvement programme.

The new problem led to delays to South West Trains services to and from London Waterloo by up to 45 minutes, with disruption expected to last until mid-afternoon.

Ten platforms, half the station, have been closed since the weekend as part of an £800 Network Rail rebuilding programme.

Hundreds of trains a day have been cancelled for the next three weeks, leading to chaotic scenes on Monday evening.

The points failure affected five platforms this morning.

SWT said in a message to passengers: “As platforms one to 10 were already closed due to planned works, the closure of five additional platforms has caused severe delays. To ease congestion and to return the service to normal, some short-notice alterations will be necessary.

“Trains which normally run between Exeter St Davids and London Waterloo will only run between Exeter St Davids and Basingstoke. Where possible, these trains will continue to Reading.”

A Network Rail spokesman said: “We know that some passengers experienced difficult journeys home last night. We are sorry that our vital work to expand Waterloo station by 30% over the next three weeks to make room for more and longer trains is so disruptive.

“Our advice for passengers continues to be to try and travel outside the peak hours, or to work from home or to take some holiday. We know, and have warned, that there will be crowding and queuing systems in operation at busy times and at busy stations and those well-rehearsed plans were brought into use for about an hour last night at Waterloo.

“While busy, it was controlled with significant numbers of staff on hand to help and advice.”

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