Trains damaged by Storm Henk, crew out of position and many other misfortunes are disrupting the morning rush-hour, with rail problems expected throughout Wednesday.
Senior rail officials apologised to passengers who were stranded at London Waterloo, one of the three busiest stations in Britain, on Tuesday evening. In a joint statement at the station, Stuart Meek of South Western Railway and Matt Pocock of Network Rail said: “The severe winds led to trees on the line damaging or delaying trains in multiple locations across our network.
“We jointly took the decision to suspend running services for several hours to ensure the safety of all our customers and colleagues.
“This had a knock-on effect with delays and cancellations through the rest of the day.
“We expect disruption linked to this storm to continue through today.”
There are many other problems elsewhere in south-east England. East Croydon, south of London, is one of the 20 busiest stations in Britain. On a busy working day, one of its six platforms is out of use, causing some delays and cancellations.
Further south, the Sussex town of Uckfield is cut off due to signal failure.
In Cambridgeshire, a damaged train is stuck on the line north of Cambridge, with very few trains able to move past it to Ely and King’s Lynn.
Great Western Railway passengers are experiencing problems in several locations. In Cornwall, the line between Liskeard and Looe is flooded and closed, with taxis running in place of trains.
In Devon, flooding between Totnes and Plymouth is still leading to delays and cancellations.
Flooding at Chipping Sudbury continues to keep the main line from London Paddington to South Wales closed, with trains delayed by 40 minutes. The closure began on New Year’s Day.
In Wales, Transport for Wales is warning of “major delays” on the lines from Swansea to Shrewsbury, Llandudno to Blaenau Ffestiniog and Barry to Bridgend.
Further north, staff shortage remains a problem – with some cancellations on Avanti West Coast between Birmingham and London Euston due to a shortage of train crew.
In West Yorkshire, signalling cables have been stolen, which means Wakefield Westgate is cut off and some LNER trains are cancelled.
Other trains on the East Coast main line, which connects London King’s Cross with Yorkshire, northeast England and Scotland, are affected by a combination of train crew shortage and “more trains than usual needing repairs at the same time”.
TransPennine Express has cancellations due to a poorly train driver between Leeds and Hull, flooding between Sheffield and Cleethorpes and a train fault cancelling a service from Manchester airport to Glasgow.
Many airline passengers arrived hours late, or at the wrong airport, as Storm Henk disrupted aviation in south-east England. British Airways cancelled 30 short-haul flights to and from London Heathrow on Tuesday, with a further eight grounded on Wednesday.