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How can a delay to train services in one part of the country affect journeys elsewhere?

We can fix most problems on the railway quickly and without disruption. But sometimes, a problem on one part of the railway can have a knock-on effect on another, depending on where it is, what happened and how busy train services are.

Watch this video to find out more:

What happens when we get knock-on delays?

We try to make the best decisions for you. The rail industry works together to achieve the best balance between getting trains back on schedule as safely and quickly as possible and minimising inconvenience to your journeys.

We have contingency plans in place with all the train companies so we can quickly alter timetables to get trains running back on time as soon as we can.

Here are some of the actions we take:

  • we may cancel trains with fewer passengers so that there is space on the tracks for delayed trains to complete their journey quickly
  • we may miss out stops to make up time, or add stops to keep services moving and make sure we get everyone where they need to be – even if they are a little late getting there
  • if a line closes, we may have to divert trains onto different routes or lines
  • we may even stop short of a train's final destination so we can carry out checks and cleaning faster to avoid further delay
  • sometimes, we may have to cancel all trains in the affected area for an hour; this is the quickest way to get trains running on time again.

We know delays and cancellations are frustrating and we thank you for bearing with us while we get you moving safely again.

Read more:

Delays Explained – flooding

Video: Delays explained – landslips

Delays explained – overhead line equipment

Delays explained: bridge strikes

Delays explained: signals

Delays explained: why we can’t run trains during repairs

Broken rail explained

Track circuits explained

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