Sussex trains impacted by major rail disruption after person hit by a train; signalling fault also reported

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Sussex trains are being impacted by major railway disruption this morning (Tuesday, June 18), after a person was hit by a train and a signalling system fault occurred.

National Rail has reported that a person was hit by a train between Bedford and London St Pancras International.

A statement read: “Thameslink have advised that a person has been hit by a train on this part of the network, and they are working with Network Rail and the emergency services to deal with this incident as sensitively, quickly and safely as possible.

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“As some lines are closed, trains may be cancelled, revised or delayed by up to 60 minutes.

Southern Rail. Photo: Stock image / Sussex WorldSouthern Rail. Photo: Stock image / Sussex World
Southern Rail. Photo: Stock image / Sussex World

“Major disruption is expected until 12pm. If you’ve been affected by what happened on the network today, there is always someone to talk to. You can contact the Samaritans on 116 123 from any phone for a confidential chat.”

Thameslink services between Bedford and Three Bridges / Brighton / East Grinstead / Horsham / Haywards Heath are being affected.

A spokesperson said: “A person has been hit by a train between Bedford and London St Pancras International. As some lines are closed, trains may be cancelled, revised or delayed by up to 60 minutes

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"Please check your journey before you travel this morning, and allow plenty of extra time for your journey – Thameslink advise an extra 30 minutes. For most journeys, you can travel using your normal route, but you may need to take an earlier or later train than planned, or change trains en route.

Tickets will be accepted for no extra cost on Southern and Gatwick Express services between London, Gatwick Airport and Brighton.

They will also be accepted on the London Underground via any reasonable route, including between London Terminals.

Meanwhile, there has been a fault with the signalling system between London Victoria and Balham. This means trains running between these stations may be delayed by up to 20 minutes or cancelled, National Rail said. Disruption is expected until 12pm.

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This is affecting Gatwick Express services between London Victoria and Brighton as well as Southern trains between London Victoria and Dorking / East Croydon / Epsom Downs / Horsham.

A National Rail spokesperson said: “Network Rail technicians on site have identified the fault, and are now carrying out repairs.

“This part of the network uses axle counters to detect whether trains are in the area. These are electrical systems which check the passage of train wheels and monitor whether a train is on a section of track. They operate as part of the signalling system, which is designed to be ‘fail safe’.

"When an axle counter fails, the signalling system will interpret this as a train remaining in place, even though there may not be a train present at all, or the previous service may have long since left the area.

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“As a result, further trains cannot be automatically allowed onto the relevant section of track. Train drivers will be stopped by red signals on approach. They will then get verbal permission from the signaller so that they can proceed, and will run at a heavily-reduced speed as far as the next signal. This is so that the drivers will stop safely if they see anything ahead of them.

“In some areas, the sections between signals can be several miles long, so this can result in delays building up. Even with shorter sections of track affected, there would still be a delay of at least a few minutes to each journey.

“Axle counter faults can be caused by a number of different issues, including electronic faults and debris coming into contact with them. Network Rail manage the signalling system, including axle counters, and their staff will be investigating as quickly as possible.”

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