Stoke & Staffordshire

Thousands disrupted by rail cable thieves and signalling fault

Network Rail workers Image copyright PA
Image caption Network Rail reported the incident on Wednesday, with damage to the cables affecting travel between Stoke-on-Trent and Stafford

Thousands of rail passengers are experiencing disruption following the attempted theft of signalling cables and signal failure.

Network Rail said cable damage is affecting travel between Stoke-on-Trent and Stafford/Lichfield Trent Valley on the West Coast Mainline.

Though lines reopened, operators Virgin Trains and CrossCountry were expected to "cancel, delay or revise" services.

The East Coast Mainline has also been disrupted by a signalling fault.

The issue is causing major disruption to journeys between Doncaster and Grantham and again is expected to last until the end of the day.

Network Rail said in a statement that "services may be cancelled, delayed by up to 60 minutes or revised."

The attempted cable theft took place at about 22:30 BST on Tuesday, near to Wedgewood Road level crossing, Stoke-on-Trent, British Transport Police said.

CrossCountry customers were advised to use East Midlands trains between Stoke-on-Trent and Crewe, Northern trains between Stoke-on-Trent and Manchester Piccadilly or London Northwestern Railway services via any reasonable route.

Virgin Trains said rail replacement buses were in operation to take passengers between Stafford and Stoke-On-Trent in both directions "until further notice".

A statement released by Network Rail on the theft said: "Lines have reopened between Stoke-on-Trent and Stafford.

"Some disruption may continue to journeys between Stoke-on-Trent and Stafford / Lichfield Trent Valley.

"Services may be cancelled, delayed by up to 15 minutes or revised."

British Transport Police said: "Officers attended and whilst cable was significantly damaged, none were taken during the incident."

The news comes days after Northern rail passengers were warned to expect "extremely busy" services during a 24-hour strike by staff in a dispute over pay.

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