Safety problems cause Petersfield area train delays

By Post in Transport

TRAINS on the Portsmouth-Waterloo line through the Petersfield area have been disrupted for a second day.

A problem with the track safety system which stops two trains being in the same section of track at the same time between Havant and Guildford means that trains have to run at reduced speed on all lines.

Train services running through these stations may be cancelled, delayed by up to 30 minutes or diverted via Eastleigh. From 10.30am today (Thursday), the Portsmouth-bound line between Guildford and Havant was blocked while engineers attempt to fix the signalling problem. While the line is closed, trains running in the Portsmouth bound direction via Guildford will run via Eastleigh.

South West Trains has arranged for rail replacement buses to operate between Woking and Havant while the line is blocked.

The London-bound line is remaining open, although it is disrupted with trains running sporadically.

Rail tickets will be accepted on bus routes 700, 21 and 23 between Havant and Portsmouth Harbour/Portsmouth and Southsea and bus routes 70 and 71 between Guildford and Haslemere.

South West Trains tickets will be accepted on Southern Rail services between Portsmouth Harbour and London Victoria until further notice. Passengers can also travel on London Underground services from London Victoria to complete their journey in London.

The problem started yesterday (Wednesday) at 10.37am when the track safety system between Witley and Haslemere stations showed incorrectly that there was a train occupying a section of track. This meant that the signalling system would not allow a second train to occupy the same section.

To allow trains to proceed safely into the affected area the signal operator manually checked that the track was clear and verbally advise each train. This meant that trains were delayed whilst this process took place.

At 10.45am, a similar issue occurred on the Waterloo-bound line at Liss station which required the signaller to manually check the track was clear and verbally give permission to each train to proceed. This created delays on the services towards Guildford.

South West Trains engineers were unable to investigate the problems during the day on Wednesday without completely blocking the line in both directions. Delayed services continued to run and it was hoped to complete the work overnight.

Engineers had been unsuccessful at 4.45am on Thursday and the process of manually checking each section of track was continuing into Thursday, leading to the delays and alterations.

For further information, visit www.southwesttrains.co.uk