South West Trains apologises for delays

He's offering his sincere apologies. South West Trains Managing Director Andy Pitt says these are "extremely difficult circumstances" But many commuters on the Waterloo line will say this has been a week from hell.

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Image caption Some passengers kept a tally of how many hours they had been stuck (picture: James Bilderbeck)

Southampton Central station was closed following the death of a man on the tracks. That brought chaos to rail services across the region. And last night thousands of passengers were trapped on trains for up to six hours.

The latest problem is theft of cable. When you hear about signalling problems, we're told, that often means someone has made off with the copper. Last night dozens of trains were delayed and cancelled.

James Bilderbeck from Basingstoke was among passengers stuck for more than four hours near Woking. He sent BBC News a picture of the carriage, but others were less patient, prising open doors and walking along the track.

The South West Trains apology comes with a promise of a full review. Andy Pitt said: "We are extremely angry and frustrated that mindless and irresponsible vandalism meant that many of our passengers had a terrible journey last night."

"Our staff did their very best to help people get home through the night, including organising and paying for alternative transport, however there is no question the plans of many people were hugely disrupted."

"Working with Network Rail, we have endeavoured to minimise the impact of these problems, although this is of little consolation if you have been affected by one or more of these events."

Lack of communication

MP for Mole Valley, Sir Paul Beresford, said: "It seems to me as though there was lack of communication between Network Rail and South West Trains, particularly as evacuation has to be done really carefully.

"Someone should have been telling the drivers and the drivers should have been telling people."

"OK, it doesn't make them move any faster but at least it gives them an understanding of what is going wrong."

Transport Secretary's review

Another Surrey MP - The Transport Secretary Philip Hammond - said a review would look at what happened and the communications issues.

"Whatever the original cause we need a proper robust and reliable system for communicating with passengers and getting them to stations as quickly as possible," he said.

"Anyone running a business, when something goes wrong, needs to talk to their customers."