A group of men were involved in a chase along the main London to Brighton railway track this afternoon (Friday 11 August) causing significant disruption to services.
The men were spotted at 12.50pm by a train driver and as a result the power was switched off on the tracks for 90 minutes as the police moved in.
Even late in the evening almost all services were delayed.
In a joint statement train company Southern and track operator Network Rail said: “There has been considerable disruption this afternoon on Southern and Gatwick Express services caused by trespassers on the railway track.
“Following sightings of a chase between a group of men on the tracks near Norbury Station this afternoon, power was switched off to all four lines of the main Victoria to Brighton line for investigations by the police.
“By the time lines reopened 90 minutes later, trains and train crew were considerably out of position on this, part of the most congested network in the country.
“We arranged acceptance on TfL, Southeastern, Tramlink and other operators’ services and on London Buses.
“Unfortunately services in and out of Victoria have been severely disrupted and are likely to remain so for the rest of the day.
“Passengers are advised to travel via Blackfriars or London Bridge where possible.
“Passengers delayed by 15 minutes or more should claim compensation at southernrailway.com/delayrepay.
“The trespassers were reported by a train driver at about 12.50pm.
“All train movements through the area were stopped and track power turned off between Thornton Heath and Streatham Common while Met Police and British Transport Police dealt with the situation.
“Although it was possible to divert a few trains via Streatham, many services were affected on this very busy part of the network.
“Power was restored and services were moving again by 2.20pm but disruption is expected for the rest of the day.”