OREANDA-NEWS. The fire, reported at 4am, destroyed data and power cables taking out all the signalling - the railway equivalent of traffic lights - between Marylebone and Neasden Junction.

At 8am today Network Rail engineers were still waiting for fire fighters to finish damping down the blaze so they can get on to the viaduct to begin repairs, which are likely to take at least 24 hours.

Chiltern train passengers who had planned to travel from Marylebone today are advised is to use another station on another route. Chiltern tickets are being accepted by Virgin, London Midland, CrossCountry and GWR.

Martin Ball, area director for Network Rail, said: "Engineers will make the necessary repairs as soon as they are safely able to do so. I know how frustrating incidents like this are for travelling customers, who are at the front of our mind as we seek to fix this problem."

At this stage it is not clear what caused the fire.

Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 36,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.

The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway.

For passengers, that means:
  • longer, faster more frequent trains;
  • better, more reliable infrastructure; and
  • better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.