York & North Yorkshire

East Coast rail line disrupted by signal failure

A number of train services on the East Coast main line have been cancelled or changed, as a knock-on effect of signalling problems around York.

National Rail Enquiries said a number of train crew and trains were not in the right place to run. It advised people to check before travelling.

Hundreds of passengers were stranded on trains on Saturday because of signal failure.

Five passenger trains were brought to a standstill, Network Rail said.

Other services were disrupted or cancelled. Passengers were being advised to travel only if absolutely necessary.

The East Coast main line runs between London Kings Cross and Scotland.

A Network Rail spokesman said the problem was with its signalling software and officials had no idea how long it would take to fix.

A British Transport Police spokesman denied the disruption was due to cable theft.

The affected train companies included CrossCountry, East Coast, First TransPennine Express, Grand Central and Northern Rail.

East Coast introduced a revised timetable. A number of replacement bus services were being offered around the affected area.

They included First TransPennine Express between York and Middlesbrough, Northern Rail York to Poppleton and CrossCountry between York and Darlington.

No scheduled services were running between York and Newcastle, with a limited bus replacement service between the two cities. A reduced number of trains were operating between London and Leeds, London and York, and Newcastle and Edinburgh.

An East Coast spokesman said: "We're working hard to look after our customers and put in place contingency plans, such as the revised timetable this evening."

Trains 'evacuated'

BBC Radio Five Live reporter Steph McGovern said she was stuck on a London-bound Grand Central train near Northallerton in North Yorkshire for six hours.

She said: "The main problem was that the carriages were full of people on hen and stag dos. Many were drunk, people were falling over. At one stage it felt like an 18-30s holiday camp."

Passengers were eventually allowed to climb down a ladder and walk along the track to a level crossing.

She said people on the train had been provided with free food and drink.

Other trains were evacuated in the same way, she said.

Three months ago thousands of East Coast main line passengers had their journeys disrupted by a power failure at Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire.

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