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Train passengers stranded overnight on Orpington Trains

Chelsfield covered in 18 inches of snow

Chelsfield covered in 18 inches of snow

Archant

Scores of passengers were trapped on a broken-down train for five and a half hours last night (Tue 30).

Chelsfield rail station

The wintry conditions caused Southeastern’s 8.05pm train from Charing Cross to Hastings train to shut down north of Orpington as an insulating layer of ice blocked the electricity from getting to the rail.

Passengers were stranded until 5.30am this morning. Network Rail sent another train to try and rescue the broken-down one but that became stuck too, so they had to resort to de-icing the rail.

Southeastern said when the Hastings train finally arrived into Orpington station some passengers refused to get on the replacement buses, choosing to remain on the train.

Another train was also stranded in Petts Wood overnight on Tuesday.

South-east London was the worst hit for transport yesterday as commuters faced severe delays or cancellations and Southeastern removed all information regarding its train timetabling. It is now running on a reduced service and passengers are advised that the latest some Bromley-bound trains are leaving London tonight is around 8pm. The situation is being monitored by the hour.

Roads were also completely gridlocked, with miles of tailbacks on major trunk roads into Kent.

Southeastern said its trains automatically shut down when ice prevents the electricity getting to the rail as it can cause a dangerous surplus of energy and cause damage to the infrastructure.

England is the only country in the world where the third rail system is still used outside an urban area. It is cheaper than having over-head power supply.

Were you on the stranded train? Call the Bromley Times news desk on 0208 269 7009.

National Rail Enquiries has set up a phone hotline to provide passengers with up to date information about disruption caused by snow. The number to call is 08453 017 641.

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