‘Absolute bedlam’ on railways as flood alerts remain in place in the south-east

Commuters said they are “sick of excuses” as the aftermath of Storm Angus wiped out dozens of mainline services causing pandemonium on railway platforms.

Photographs posted on social media last night show thousands of people crammed onto the concourse at Waterloo station as poor conditions caused by flash floods led to delays and cancellations of mainline services.

Services from Paddington and King’s Cross to Bristol and Cardiff were axed as the south-west bore the brunt of the storm, with 2in (50mm) of rain in 24 hours.

Workers criticised the lack of information at stations and “dangerously overcrowded” trains.

Alerts remained in place around the M25 on Tuesday morning, with motorists warned of possible flooding in ten areas from Leatherhead round to Dagenham.

Sophie Glendenning, 21, a marketing intern from West Byfleet, boarded a packed train at Waterloo but decided to get off because it was too busy.

She told the Standard: “People were extremely pushy and aggressive to get on, I was actually quite scared.

“It was uncomfortably packed. I was literally being crushed into the side of the train and could not spend over an hour on an extremely slow moving train like that.

“People were very angry and were squished up like sardines.”

Luke Springthorpe, 27, who works in wealth management in the City, was caught up in the chaos at Waterloo which added two hours to his normal commute.

He said: “The conductor gave such a long list of excuses ranging from a passenger being taken ill, a faulty train and signal problems that I’m still not sure what the problem was.

“The information boards were useless. Heavy rainfall just sounds like it’s one of their usual excuses to be honest.

“A lot of commuters have resorted to cracking jokes about the daily excuses the rail operators come out with now. It’s on a par with kids wheeling out the old ‘dog ate my homework’ line.

“When trains did finally start coming in there was a massive stampede. It was absolute bedlam as people rushed towards the barriers.”

Melody Buila, 30, a chef from Bromley, said: “It’s just getting worse and worse. It’s ridiculous. They need to cope with the rain. This is not acceptable – we pay the highest fares in Europe.

“There was nothing on the boards – it just said delays – and when the train comes it says this platform, then that platform. Everyone was running around like they were in a Benny Hill sketch.”

Maya Schulz gave up waiting for a train home to Weybridge and went for dinner with a friend while the crowds died down.

She said: “It was just utter chaos at the station. It was so crowded there was literally no standing room on the concourse.

“This was not the first time this happened. Last week we were subjected to severe delays because of leaves.

“The week before it was apparently due to the weather. The week before a signalling fault. The list goes on.”

National Rail said “heavy rain” caused flooding and poor rail conditions across England and Wales.

Meteorologist Luke Miall of the Met Office said: “Today is looking much better generally speaking. The heavy rain is pushing northwards.

“There are fewer showers around but nothing to the extent we have seen over the last two days or so which is good news.

“It may even start to be a bit brighter by the end of the day as well. It’s good news to dry out the roads.

“Generally over the next few days it’s looking a bit more settled.”

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