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Snow causes rail headaches for East Surrey passengers
12:10pm Tuesday 12th March 2013 in Local News
Snow fall was today causing disruption on the railways with delays down to points failures and the knock-on effects of the arctic blast in neighbouring Sussex.
For while Surrey has largely escaped the heavy snow which has caused drifts and roads gridlock in parts of Sussex, the effects of the major problems further towards the coast have caused headaches for rail chiefs and passengers facing long waits on platforms.
Yesterday, train services were disrupted after the body of a man was discovered on the railway line near Horley as snow swept into the area.
The discovery on the line between Horley and Gatwick Airport triggered delays of about 90 minutes.
Passengers on Southern Railway services heading into and out from London Victoria and London Bridge, via stations including Redhill, Horley and Gatwick, were affected.
The hold-ups, including the suspension of Gatwick Express services, came as emergency services and British Transport Police (BTP) went into action at the scene of the discovery.
A BTP spokeswoman said: “BTP officers were called to the line between Horley and Gatwick Airport rail stations on Monday, March 11, following the discovery of a man’s body.”
She said: “Officers from BTP and Sussex Police attended the incident, which was reported to BTP at 11.57am, and is currently being treated as non-suspicious.
“Medics from South East Coast Ambulance Service also attended, but the man, believed to be 32-years-old and from Brighton, was pronounced dead at the scene.”
She said: “Enquiries are ongoing to establish the full circumstances of the incident, including how the man came to be on the tracks.”
Earlier in the day, a report from Southern Railway had said a person had been hit by a train at Horley.
Although lines were reopened in the early afternoon, Southern Railway warned that delays in the Gatwick area were expected until 7pm.
And today, while Surrey Police and Gatwick Airport reported no significant problems, and only one school in the Life area – Oakwood School in Horley – was closed because of “treacherous travelling conditions,” the problems on the railways continued.
Some Southern Railway services were cancelled and First Capital Connect reported knock-on problems to its trains as a result of the severe snowfall in Sussex and points problems.
A spokesman said: “On the railway, Network Rail has been digging out the points that allow our trains to switch from one track to another. “Between East Croydon and Three Bridges we can use only two lines instead of the normal four. “There was also a points failure at Gatwick at 7.10am that brought all our trains to a complete stand for an hour.
“Trains have had to travel slower because of the treacherous conditions and to keep the snow out of essential electrical equipment.”
He said: "Network Rail has been working under very trying conditions in Sussex, where drifts of as much as 10cm of snow have formed and where conditions are so bad the Red Cross has been called out to rescue hundreds of stranded motorists.
"The severe congestion on this part of the route has affected services everywhere else including those in central London, St Albans and London, where we have no snow and bright sunshine.
"Understandably, our passengers in the areas with no snow will find it difficult to understand why bad weather was affecting their services this morning."