Gatwick Train Track Fire Causes Disruption

26 July 2016, 12:56

Thousands of train passengers facing delays while Network Rail carry out repairs to the damaged rail.

A rail track fire at Gatwick Airport has caused huge delays to commuters and holidaymakers.

Dozens of trains operating to and from the West Sussex airport are delayed or cancelled due to the fire, which began shortly after 7am.

The section of track which is on the main line between London Victoria and Brighton was initially closed.

Network Rail (NR) reopened two of the four lines shortly afterwards but two will remain closed for the rest of the day while repairs are carried out.

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Southern, Gatwick Express and Thameslink services are affected, with journeys said to be delayed by up to 35 minutes.

Network Rail said the fire was caused by a problem with the power supply, leading to ``significant disruption''.

The blaze melted electrical cables and the conductor rail which provides power to trains.

An National Rail spokesman said: ``We're really sorry for the delays that passengers are experiencing today, our engineers are on site working to repair the damage caused by the fire. ``The damage is quite extensive, so it's difficult to give a firm estimate as to when the railway will return to normal.''

A spokesman for Govia Thameslink Railway said: ``Our passengers on Southern, Thameslink and Gatwick Express were all disrupted this morning and will continue to be for the rest of the day with delays of up to 35 minutes.

``Anyone who is held up by 30 minutes or more should claim compensation at any one of our websites or ask station staff for a form.''

West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said it received a report of the fire at 7.07am on Tuesday but the blaze was already out when crews arrived at the scene.

Gatwick is the second busiest airport in the UK, with 41 million passengers using it each year.

Southern passengers have faced long-term disruption caused by the upgrade of London Bridge station, staff shortages, increased sickness levels and industrial action over plans to change the role of conductors.

The operator has cut 341 services from its timetable following weeks of problems