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South Western Railway passengers face day of chaos

PASSENGERS faced further chaos on the tracks today after hundreds of London train services were cancelled without warning.

At least 235 services from London Waterloo railway station were cancelled by 7.30am and hundreds more were cancelled by the end of the morning rush.
 
The South Western Railway (SWR) rail franchise claims that the cancellations are a result of vital engineering upgrades from Network Rail spilling over from the weekend into this morning.
 
The work was intended to have been finished by the morning but was not completed on time, causing a blockage on the line between Surbiton and London Waterloo.
 
SWR spent the morning encouraging commuters to find alternative methods of transport to get to work and warned of serious disruption throughout the day.
 
Northern England also experienced further rail turmoil with widespread cancellations on Arriva Rail North and Merseyrail services being reported.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “The chaos into Waterloo this morning is just another example of the fragmentation and division on Britain's privatised railways where‎ maintenance schedules and budgets are hacked to the bare bones while private operators like SWR are left with a free hand to rob the network blind in the name of profit.
 
“What we need is reintegration and a coherent system with all elements of the rail operation working together in one publicly owned framework with investment rather than exploitation as the watchword.”
 
Mr Cash took a swing at “absent” Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and that “he should go and he should go now.”

Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan added: “The lack of leadership by Chris Grayling, compounded by the loss of his number two, Jo Johnson, who had no grasp of the brief anyway, hardly inspires confidence.”
 
A spokesperson for SWR said that commuters’ tickets will be accepted on “reasonable” London Underground, Southern Rail and Great Western Railway (GWR) routes.

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