Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Cable theft disrupts Havant rail services

Southampton Central Station
Image caption Passengers at Southampton Central station faced long queues

Rail services are being disrupted in Hampshire after thieves tried to steal signalling cables.

Trains were unable to go through Havant after the attempted theft near Rowlands Castle, with some trains diverting via Eastleigh and replacement buses used.

South Western Railway said Network Rail engineers were repairing the damage but could not say when it would be fixed.

Earlier signal failures at Aldershot, Clapham and Staines also led fewer services in and out of London Waterloo.

Network Rail said a limited service through Havant started shortly after 09:15 GMT.

Police investigating

However, it urged anyone travelling through the Portsmouth and Havant area to check beforehand.

South Western Railway said delays were expected throughout Wednesday.

It said passengers delayed by 15 minutes or more may be eligible for compensation.

The attempted cable theft is being investigated by British Transport Police.

Paul Clifton - BBC South transport correspondent

It has been an extraordinarily messy morning for passengers on South Western Railway (SWR). The company said services right across its network were affected.

Not just by the cable theft at Rowlands Castle, but by a whole series of unrelated signal failures, including at Clapham, Aldershot and Staines.

It is the latest in a succession of infrastructure-related disruption on services into Waterloo, which have continued since a major station upgrade last summer.

SWR suffered a 7% fall in passenger satisfaction in the National Passenger Survey, published by Transport Focus in January. It was the biggest drop of any train operator.

The lion's share of the blame probably lies with Network Rail's failings in the region.

But passengers have also been directing their anger at SWR, which took over services last August. There's even a petition demanding the government strips the First Group/MTR company of its seven-year franchise.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites