PeopleImage copyright PA
Image caption South Western Railway said it expects to be running a normal service by 14:00 BST

The UK’s busiest railway station has re-opened but with disruption due to a problem with the signalling system.

Ten of London’s Waterloo station’s platforms have been shut since 5 August for an £800m project to increase capacity.

The platforms came back into use on Tuesday morning but testing on the upgrade work has identified a problem with the signalling equipment.

Delays and cancellations are expected until 14:00 BST.

Compensation and other questions

A Network Rail spokesman said: “During the process of testing the complex signalling, we identified an issue in this safety-critical system which we are working to resolve.

“This will take some time to fix and a small number of early passenger trains may be delayed as a result.

“We are working hard to minimise delays to passengers, but safely is our number one priority.”

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Image caption The £800m station upgrade is to accommodate longer trains and provide space for 30% extra passengers

Passengers took to social media to express their frustration at the problems:

Jasper Johns said his journey from Kingston was delayed by up to 40 minutes.

The 35-year-old said: “There was an expectation or doubt that it would be ready, because they’re pretty poor when they do these works anyway.

“But you’ve kind of had enough. Say 10 minutes more in the morning, then another 20 minutes perhaps in the evening, you take that over a week – it’s an extra hour or so you spend commuting. Over three weeks.

“I’ve certainly felt more tired. I’m reasonably young and healthy, but my wife is seven months pregnant, and there’s obviously older and younger people who commute as well, it’s not as easy on them either.”

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Passengers were told in an email that services running across the whole South Western Railway network may be cancelled, delayed or revised.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said: “Passengers will be disappointed that, after all the promises, communications and planning, the Waterloo upgrade slipped. Passengers booked tickets and made travel plans based on the promises made by the industry.

“Clearly the priority is to get things moving again: it is crucial that information is clear and plenty of staff are on hand to help. Then this must be reviewed to make sure the lessons of today are learnt and built into future events.

“In the meantime, every single passenger affected should claim compensation. Send a clear message to the industry and make sure your voice is heard.”

The £800m project aims to get the station ready for longer trains and provide space for 30% more passengers during the busiest times of the day.

About 1,000 workers are taking part in the upgrade work and stations including Queenstown Road, Earlsfield and Norbiton were also closed.

Andy Mellors, managing director for South Western Railway, added: “I’d like to thank our passengers for their patience over the past few weeks.

“It’s clearly been a challenging time but these improvement works will help us deliver the increased capacity needed for the future”

London Waterloo

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  • It has 19 platforms
  • An average of 270,000 journeys are normally made to and from Waterloo every day
  • More than 99 million passenger journeys were made from Waterloo in 2016
  • South Western Railway operates 1,600 trains a day, carrying 651,000 passengers, making it the busiest commuter operator in Europe

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