Dear customer,

We are really sorry for the disruption to your journeys throughout the day yesterday. This was the result of separate issues caused by flooding on the track, and by damage to the overhead power lines which then caused three different trains to fail in service.

This article is intended to provide you with more information about what happened, what the impact was on our service, and how we managed the situation.

If you were travelling yesterday and your journey was delayed, you will be eligible for compensation. Please see below for more details about how to claim for the money you are owed.

What happened?

The first incident was flooding in the West Horndon area, which caused a signal fault at around 07.10. The first train to pass through the area reported that water was standing on the line, but below the height of the rails. This meant a 5mph speed limit was imposed, and Network Rail’s engineers were dispatched to the site. Pumping the water away proved to be a challenging exercise which took most of the day, as the surrounding fields were also flooded which prevented water from clearing. Therefore Network Rail worked with a local farmer to pump water out of his field, to allow the water pumped away from the tracks to drain clear.

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The speed restriction remained in place until the end of the day service, but was was lifted for the start of service on Friday 15 January.

The second incident was damage to the overhead power lines between Barking and Upminster, which resulted in damage to a number of trains:

  • The first reported issue was at 15.45, when a train approaching Benfleet suffered a power failure. The driver found there was significant damage to both pantographs, which are the part of the train that collects the power from the overhead lines. An empty train was sent to attach to the stricken train, and towed it back to the next station.
  • The second reported issue was at 16.25 , when another train lost power as it passed Hornchurch station. London Underground sent specialist staff to the station, and passengers were evacuated onto the disused rail platform at Hornchurch before moving over to the District line platform. An empty train was attached to the stricken train, and it was towed to East Ham depot.
  • A third issue then occurred at 19.05, when a train lost power near Dagenham East. Original attempts to repair the train, and then to attach another train to tow the stricken train away, both failed. Therefore an empty train was sent alongside the stricken train, and passengers were brought onboard. The stricken train was eventually moved to East Ham depot shortly after 23.00.

Network Rail’s engineers had been checking the overhead power lines throughout, and found a damaged section near Elm Park. This was responsible for causing damage to the stricken trains, and a number of other trains as well. The section of overhead power line was fixed overnight.

What was the impact?

These combined incidents contributed to extensive disruption and delays throughout the day. The speed restriction near West Horndon reduced the number of trains we could run per hour at peak times, so several trains were cancelled in advance. The subsequent train failures meant that the line towards London was blocked until the damaged trains could be moved. Where possible, we introduced bi-directional running where trains take turns to use a single line in different directions – similar to when temporary traffic lights are deployed during roadworks.

In total 72 trains were cancelled or part-cancelled as a result of the combined incidents on Thursday, and a further 140 trains delayed.

All trains were checked following the issue with the overhead power lines, and varying degrees of damage was found on 26 different trains. While a number of trains were fixed overnight, nine remain unavailable as at Friday morning. As a result all trains that normally run as 12-carriage services are expected to be reduced to 8-carriages for the rest of the day.

Compensation for delays

If you were delayed you will be eligible for compensation for each journey. Find out more about the different tiers of compensation we offer based on the length of your delay here.

  • c2c Smartcard users: If you tapped your Smartcard at both ends of your journey, you will receive automatic compensation. However we recommend you check your online account to ensure our automatic payments reflect the actual delay to your journey, especially if you delayed tapping your card in at the start of the journey. If you feel your delay is not fully reflected, you can use your online account to correct the automatic system. Alternatively you can submit a manual claim on this occasion.
  • Paper ticket holders, Oyster and contactless card users: Please fill out your details on this online delay repay form to claim your compensation.