Network Rail is advising passengers that damage to overhead line equipment which is affecting services between Bedford and London St Pancras International should be fixed before rush hour this evening. This will allow train operators Thameslink and East Midlands Railway to run more services.  

This morning, (Thursday, 6 February) damage to the overhead line equipment was reported between Harpenden and Bedford.  This means that currently, trains are only able to travel on two lines in this area, as opposed to four, meaning fewer services can run.

Network Rail engineers have been on site overnight and are working to carry out a temporary fix to allow a full service to resume as quickly as possible. When Network Rail workers arrived on site, they found that one of the overhead electric wires, which is used to power trains, had snapped.

To allow repair work to be carried out safely, the power to this section of overhead line equipment has been turned off. Incidents like this also have a knock-on effect on services elsewhere on the route as it can mean that trains, drivers and crews aren’t in the right place at the right time to run other services in the day’s timetable. A permanent repair will be carried out overnight. 

Passengers are still urged to check before they travel, which they can do via National Rail Enquiries or with their train operators. Ticket acceptance and bus replacement services are currently in place.

Gary Walsh, Network Rail’s Route Director in the East Midlands, said: “I’m very sorry for the difficult journeys which some East Midlands Railway and Thameslink customers have experienced today.

“The disruption has been caused by damage to our overhead line equipment and we are working as hard as we can to fix the problem. We expect to have all lines back running as normal this afternoon. 

“I would encourage passengers to continue to check before travelling today as, even when incidents like this are resolved, there can be knock-on delays due to trains and workers being out of place.”

Tom Moran, Managing Director for Thameslink and Great Northern said: “We are preparing to resume services as soon as the lines reopen and will run as many trains as possible for the evening rush hour, bearing in mind trains and drivers have been displaced by the disruption.

“We have extra staff out at stations and full information about alternative travel arrangements on our website where I would also urge anyone delayed by 15 minutes or more to claim Delay Repay compensation.”