Twitter exploded with complaints from frustrated commuters this morning as travelers were faced with nightmare scenes across London and further afield.
Passengers took to social media to vent their fury, likening their commute to crossing Mordor or participating in the Hunger Games.
Network Rail apparently tried to placate some with free drinks vouchers - although we suspect many will be wanting something a little stronger than the advertised cup of tea, Americano or bottle of water by the time their train finally arrives.
— Dan Skinner (@theskinnerclan) April 13, 2015
User @Artsybury tweeted: “It’s like the Hunger Games here on the #southeastern train. Shouting, pushing, cursing and actual fights.”
Natalie Burgess added: “Given up trying to get to work with #Southeastern and now working at home. FFS it’s only 25 miles to London, I’m not trekking across Mordor.”
Diana S added: “#thingsfasterthansoutheastern my 93 year old Granny #Southeastern”
User @Badwolf10 tweeted: “#southeastern apparently run by Willy Wonka *sings* "There's no earthly way of knowing which direction we are going."
And @1Dev added: “A bloke in a top hat walking in front of a train waiving a flag would be more productive. Close it all down and start again. #southeastern”
Others were baffled by seemingly bizarre detours and diversions, such as Jennifer Spink who tweeted: Thank you #SouthEastern for diverting the train due in to LDN Waterloo to SWANLEY! Just brilliant. No real explanation either.
A failure at Edgware Road led to a part-suspension of the District line, as well as severe delays on the Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines.
Even on lines which had no problems, overcrowding rapidly became a problem as passengers were forced to switch to other routes.
Predictably, there were also problems at London Bridge, where overrunning engineering work caused delays to services into and out of the station.
Ongoing works at the crucial London station have repeatedly caused problems for commuters, as well as high levels of overcrowding.
Words of the conductor on #southeastern train to Victoria: "I'm sorry, there are just too many people standing." I can hear children crying.— Shane Jarvis (@shanjar) April 8, 2015
I feel more confident that man will colonise the Moon in my lifetime, than Southeastern will provide a decent rail service…#southeastern— The Real Ian M (@TheRealIanM) April 13, 2015
Mick Cash, general secretary of transport union the RMT, said: "It is a nightmare Monday for hundreds of thousands of commuters this morning due to yet another signal breakdown with our members reporting total chaos and severe overcrowding on the lines still running."
He went on: "We have warned repeatedly about the impact of cuts to maintenance and staffing and those warnings have been rubbished and ignored by Tube bosses working to a political agenda handed down by London Mayor Boris Johnson."
A broken-down train also led to delays to services in and out of Moorgate station in London, while another train failure, in Scotland, caused hold-ups to services between Gourock and Glasgow Central.
Overheard announcement at Sevenoaks this morning: "this Charing X train is only stopping at Victoria". Genius #southeastern— ElJayDay (@ElJayDay) April 13, 2015
There were also delays on the East Coast line due to a signal failure at Retford in Nottinghamshire, while a signalling problem in Sussex caused delays to trains between Eastbourne and Hastings.
Network Rail’s route managing director for the South East, Alasdair Coates, said: “I apologise for what has been a very difficult journey to work for people this morning. We are investigating what on initial inspection appear to be several unrelated faults on the lines between Deptford, New Cross and London Bridge.
“Many of those faults were repaired before 8am but by that point the damage was done and trains were severely delayed as a result. We recognise the importance of this station to London and we will do everything we can to find out what went wrong.”