Thousands of commuters returning to Brighton and Hove were delayed for hours this evening (Tuesday 1 November) after an electrical fault damaged the track at Wivelsfield.
Network Rail said: “Urgent repairs to the track in the Wivelsfield area means all lines between Haywards Heath and Brighton and also between Haywards Heath and Lewes have been closed.
“To help with your journey, rail replacement buses will be in operation overnight between Three Bridges and Brighton.
“The buses are expected to be busy and you may need to queue before boarding.”
The incident happened at about 4pm and although Network Rail said that all lines were open by late evening, almost all trains back to Brighton and Hove were cancelled.
— Network Rail (@networkrail) November 1, 2016
The train operator Southern said: “Network Rail, who own and maintain the track on which we run our trains, are working to repair a damaged rail and other track side equipment between Brighton and Haywards Heath.
“This follows an electrical fault which burned a hole in one of the rails.
“The affected lines are currently closed to rail services. As a result, our trains between Brighton and Haywards Heath will be replaced by bus services until the work is completed.
“Network Rail are providing us with regular updates on how their work is progressing.
“They expect that this work will be completed in time for the start of service on Wednesday 2 November.”
Several passengers took to social media to complain about scenes of chaos at London Bridge and Victoria stations both of which became more orowded than usual.
One of them, Brighton commuter and security guard Terry Wing, said: “Finished work at 10pm in London but the train journey got me home five hours later! Home at 3am.
“I looked after a partially sighted lady on the train and promised her that I would get her home safely to near Worthing, Aldrington or whatever. That got me a seat on the one bus when it arrived.
“Ended up doing security control with an off duty copper.
“Two hundred people wouldn’t fit on a 54 seated 22 standing bus lol.
“Organised what stations not to stop at as nobody wanted some stops (and we were too full to collect on route). But the driver still took all the long 30mph roads and it took ages.
“And a few thanked me while some others gave me abuse about Southern Railway … they couldn’t understand that I didn’t work for them and only did that task for their own safety and comfort.”