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Spate of problems gives thousands of rail passengers a Monday morning from hell

Power was turned off on one line after a man began shouting about the “sins” of homosexuality.

Hundreds of thousands of rail passengers suffered a Monday morning from hell as some of the busiest services in the country were disrupted by a spate of problems, including a man with a rucksack sparking a security scare.

Power was turned off on a line between Wimbledon and London Waterloo after the man stood up and started shouting about the “sins” of homosexuality.

Some passengers forced open doors and jumped on to the track, causing huge disruption to South Western Railway (SWR) services to and from London Waterloo, the UK’s busiest station.

Passengers praised a guard who calmed down the man and led him off the train. One said the guard dealt with the situation with “compassion, restraint and bravery”.

SWR services had already been disrupted because of an earlier points problem affecting five platforms at Waterloo, just weeks after a multimillion pound improvement project was completed.

Some services were cancelled or delayed by more than an hour, with disruption continuing until the afternoon.

Mick Cash, leader of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, said: “Once again the guard has stepped in and calmed a potentially dangerous situation in an exemplary and professional manner.

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“Panic could have broken out but for the guard’s calm and measured response.

“This was a packed passenger train at the height of the rush hour and illustrates just why RMT members are fighting so hard to keep the guard on South Western Railway services.”

Union members on SWR are currently voting on whether to strike in a dispute over guards on trains.

Meanwhile, Southern, Gatwick Express and Thameslink services were also disrupted because of over-running engineering work.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “Passengers self-evacuated off a train and on to the tracks at Wimbledon this morning after a passenger incident.

“British Transport Police are investigating and there were no injuries to passengers or staff. This has caused significant delays to services in and out of Waterloo that will continue for the rest of the morning.

“A signal failure at Waterloo also caused some earlier disruption to trains – this was resolved by 0815. We apologise for delays to journeys this morning and ask passengers to please check before they travel.”

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