Long delays for rail commuters after freight train derails near Hitchin station

Commuters in Hertfordshire faced long delays on Tuesday morning after a freight train derailed near Hitchin station. A wagon came off the tracks in a yard adjacent to the station. According to Network Rail, it damaged signalling equipment which meant passenger services were disrupted.

They tweeted: "The freight derailment in a yard at Hitchin cut the cable controlling a set of points on 1 track through the station. "It's not a difficult fix so we hope it will be repaired soon and will update when we have more." Thameslink and Great Northern services during Tuesday's rush hour were affected, with long queues building up outside the station.

"I was affected a little bit, it can be very disruptive.

Today I was a little bit lucky I was able to re-arrange my schedule, but many other occasions I'm unable to."

- Jon Grounds, Commuter

@GNRailUK @TLRailUK queue for a looonnnggg time to get into hitchin station this morning. Finally get to a platform and the 8:11 drives by half empty without stopping!! WTF pic.twitter.com/sHYunUzqtT

— Filthy hitchin (@FilthyHitchin) January 14, 2020 " data-on-all-screens="true" readability="31.5">

Sorry, this content isn't available on your device.

According to Mark Dack, a passenger held up by the disruption, his train had to move very slowly into the station because of the derailment.

The freight train on the right has derailed at Hitchin this morning so my train (on the left) is delayed and creeping past it. It's going to cause problems for trains from Letchworth. ?@TLRailUK? #Rail #Train pic.twitter.com/OtgLVlK2iQ

— Graham Mack (@GrahamMack) January 14, 2020 " data-on-all-screens="true" readability="31.5">

Sorry, this content isn't available on your device. Train operator Great Northern said on Twitter that the train, operated by another company, had derailed at low speed within the "depot/sidings" at Hitchin station.

Sharing photos of a derailed freight train car with some of its wheels off the tracks, Great Northern said in a tweet that Network Rail had teams on site working to fix the issue. The National Rail Enquiries website said the incident meant trains were unable to use platform one at Hitchin station. Services from King's Cross to King's Lynn were running between Cambridge and King's Lynn only, while Hitchin had a reduced service towards London.

Earlier, travellers were being warned of cancellations and delays from Cambridge and Peterborough towards London, with journey times extended by up to 60 minutes. Tickets were being accepted on alternative routes run by Thameslink, Greater Anglia, Cross Country, LNER and East Midlands Railway as well as on local bus routes. Shortly after 9am, a Network Rail Twitter account said workers had fixed a cable, cut by the derailment, which controlled a set of points on one track through Hitchin station.

National Rail Enquiries subsequently said services were returning to normal, but disruption was still expected to last until 12.30pm. A spokesman for Great Northern said the freight train was operated by DB Cargo.

A Freightliner service operating on behalf of Mendip Rail, carrying aggregates from Acton Yard to Hitchin, at 06.56 experienced a three-wagon derailment at Hitchin Yard, damaging a signalling cable. DB Cargo UK's breakdown and recovery vehicle was dispatched from Didcot to help recover the derailed wagons."

- Spokeswoman, DB Cargo

The disruption ended at around 12:30pm (Tuesday) with services getting back to normal.

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