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Travel misery as over-running engineering work and signal failures hit first day back at work after Christmas breakOne train was so full passengers were ordered off before it could continueHeathrow Express was not running earlier because of over-running worksPower problems also hold up services between Reading and LondonTrain derailment in the Midlands meant services were replaced by busesWorks also lead to platform problems at Birmingham New Street StationA broken-down train brought hold-ups for passengers in ScotlandRailways in Wales suffer delays because of signalling faults
17:53 GMT, 27 December 2012
Over-running engineering work, signal failures and packed trains have been heaping misery on rail passengers today as they returned to work after the Christmas break.
A train at Crewe, Cheshire, was so full some passengers were ordered off before it could continue.
At some other stations trains were so packed that passengers could not board, with some lucky enough to have got on earlier forced to sit in the aisles.
Misery: Passengers were left looking at information boards in hope at London Paddington today
The late-running engineering work meant that the Heathrow Express was not able to run until late morning, and when it did start there were delays to the service.
The Heathrow Express issue was due to a power supply problem at Maidenhead in Berkshire which meant delays to the finish of engineering work and no services – to start with – between Paddington station in London and Reading in Berkshire.
There were a number of other problems as well. A late finish to platform work at Balham in south east London also caused delays to London-bound commuters this morning.
In the Midlands, a freight train derailment at Barrow-upon-Soar meant trains were unable to call at that station, with buses replacing trains between Loughborough and Barrow-upon-Soar.
The derailment also led to delays to services between East Midlands Parkway, Leicester and Peterborough.
In Scotland a broken-down train at Neilston meant no trains were able to run between Neilston and Glasgow Central, while Arriva Trains Wales reported delays between Neath and Swansea due to signalling problems.
London Midland services in the Birmingham area were also delayed today, with the company saying there were limited platforms available at Birmingham New Street after engineering work.
Later, a signalling problem near Milton Keynes Central in Buckinghamshire led to delays to London Midland and Virgin Trains' services between London and Milton Keynes.
London Midland passengers also had to put up with a broken-down train at Coventry which led to a suspension of services between Coventry and Nuneaton.
There were also delays to services between Hereford and Worcester due to late-running engineering work.
Welcome back: Overcrowded greeted commuters returning to work today (library image)
More late-running engineering work at Haymarket in Edinburgh led to delays of up to 40 minutes.
Elsewhere in Scotland, buses replaced trains between Aberdeen and Inverurie after someone was hit by a train.
Planned engineering work that was due to carry on was affecting services on a number of routes, while the effects of the flooding were still being felt in some areas – particularly the West Country.
FGW advised passengers not to travel to and from Devon and Cornwall.
Routes still closed included Liskeard to Looe in Cornwall and Exeter St Davids to Barnstaple in Devon.
The line between Exeter St Davids and Tiverton Parkway was also shut and there was only a very limited service running between Newton Abbot and Exeter St Davids.
In early afternoon, the Southeastern train company said that due to the over-running of engineering work in the Medway area of Kent that had been expected to finish at 4am tomorrow, it would be running a similar amended timetable tomorrow, as it had today.
Hold-up: The entrance to the platforms at Paddington was unusually quite because of the delays
NR said there had been problems with bridge work being carried out at Rochester.
Before the floods and the late-running engineering work, NR said about half the number of bus replacement services would be needed this year compared with the 2011/12 festive season.
In recent years, NR's festive season engineering work, and other bank holiday projects, have generally finished on time.
However, there was severe disruption when work was not completed in time for the big return to work in January 2008.
This led to NR being fined a record 14 million by the Office of Rail Regulation.
The most damaging overrun in the 2007/08 festive season was on the West Coast main line – a route where major work is being carried out during this festive period.