LONDON-bound rail travellers faced chaos today after a succession of technical failures caused wholesale cancellations and delays on trains from Yorkshire.
Network Rail blamed a signals failure at Doncaster for the problems, which saw some services delayed by 90 minutes and others withdrawn.
Trains from Leeds were worst hit, with the first cancellation, caused by a broken-down train, at 11am. A second breakdown, near Wakefield, caused further problems through the afternoon and early evening. One service to King’s Cross was held for 90 minutes between Leeds and Wakefield.
The new Virgin East Coast franchise was badly hit by the delays, with Northern Rail services between Leeds, Doncaster and Sheffield also affected.
A third broken-down train caused further delays to TransPennine services between Huddersfield and Stalybridge for part of the afternoon.
Last week, the government announced that the long-awaited electrification of that line between Manchester and York was being “paused”, with no completion date set. A catalogue of delays, missed targets and overspending at Network Rail was blamed for the decision, which critics branded a “betrayal” of northern passengers. Last month, Network Rail said its debt had risen almost £5bn in a year to £37.8bn.