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PROBE AFTER TRAIN DERAILMENT CHAOS.

Byline: TONY BARRETT

A TRAIN derailment caused disruption to Merseyrail commuters today.

All services from Hamilton Square on the Wirral Line have been suspended since yesterday's 4.23pm service from New Brighton to Liverpool derailed just outside Birkenhead North station.

An investigation has been launched,although Network Rail and the Health and Safety Executive have already ruled out criminal activity.

Merseyrail chiefs were hopeful the investigation would be completed today and trains would be in service again for the early evening rush hour.

A spokesman for Merseyrail Electrics said: ``Until the investigation is concluded we will not have their permission to run trains on that part of the line.

``Hopefully, we will have some trains running by evening peak but it is just a case of wait and see at the moment.''

Yesterday's derailment brought rush-hour chaos to the Merseyrail network.

Around 20 passengers had to wait on the stationary train for an hour before they were allowed off by Merseyrail staff. Nobody was injured.

The derailment paralysed train services in and out of Wirral and led to chaotic scenes at stations along the route as commuters waited for replacement bus services.

Passengers travelling home from Liverpool were only able to take a train as far as Hamilton Square, where they were loaded on to buses.

However, long queues formed outside the Birkenhead station as the bus system struggled to cope with the extra demand.

Morning rush-hour commuters were delayed after a lorry jackknifed on the Runcorn Bridge shortly before 8 am today,causing large tailbacks.

CAPTION(S):

DERAILED: Rail staff examine the stricken Merseyrail train; QUEUES: Stranded commuters wait for buses at Hamilton Square
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 20, 2004
Words:275
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