- Dozens of Avanti train services cancelled at Euston today due to staff shortages
- Rail firm admitted short-notice cancellations due to ‘historic leave agreements’
Euston station has been branded a ‘petri dish of chaos’ by furious passengers after reams of delays and cancellations today – which train bosses have now admitted is because too many staff are on holiday.
The concourse at the central London railway hub was rammed with crowds of people seething at the delays who were desperately trying to get home to see their families for the Christmas holidays.
One fuming traveller posted a photo of people packed in like sardines on the Euston concourse on X, formerly Twitter, at around midday calling it a ‘petri dish of chaos’ that costs more than equivalent services in countries such as France and Spain.
Dozens of Avanti West Coast services to and from Euston were cancelled at short nice today, primarily due to staffing shortages which the rail firm admitted was due to ‘historic leave agreements’.
This comes at one of the busiest times of the year for the rail network as huge numbers of Britons the long train road home to see their families over the festive period.
Euston station has been branded a ‘petri dish of chaos’ by furious passengers with after reams of delays and cancellations today
Crowds of people struggle to exit from the platforms and on to the concourse at Euston Railway Station
Passengers packed at a busy Euston station late this morning after reams of delays and cancellations
An Avanti West Coast spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘We have been seeing some short-notice cancellations on our network.
‘These service changes are a result of resourcing challenges where we have seen a shortage of train crew due to historic leave agreements.
‘We are working hard to make sure we can minimise these cancellations, but we know it’s not good enough.
‘There has also delays on the network as a result of disruption.
‘We would like to apologise to our customers travelling today who have been affected.’
It came after major disruption to services between London Euston and Milton Keynes yesterday afternoon which lasted until the in the early hours of this morning after a person was hit by a train and overhead wires were damaged.
There were further delays after a railway tunnel near Milton Keynes flooded this morning. The flooding at Kilsby Tunnel is now believed to have been cleared by Network Rail.
At least 26 Avanti West Coast services to and from Euston have been cancelled since just before 9am this morning.
The services should have between London and Preston, Wolverhampton, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Blackpool, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool.
A ‘shortage of train crew’ was the cause of at least 23 cancellations, according to Avanti West Coast’s live tracker.
When asked about the last-minute cancellations, an Avanti spokesperson blamed staff shortages which have been caused by ‘historic leave agreements’.
Other cancellations were caused by faults on the train and a few more were cancelled because ‘more trains than usual needing repairs at the same time’, according to Avanti online status tracker.
A further eight Avanti services to and from Euston have been delayed, mostly due to the flooding in the train tunnel.
Tweeting at around midday today, traveller Claire McDonald expressed her frustration at Avanti, asking: ‘@AvantiWestCoast any chance of a train today? 11.16 cancelled, 11.33 cancelled- waiting for the 11.40 so I can change at Birmingham to Wolverhampton but nothing at Euston is moving and the place is heaving.’
She shared a picture of the rammed concourse to the social media platform.
Another social media, Akash Nayee, shared a picture of the concourse from around midday saying: ‘Genuinely don’t think I’ve seen Euston as bad.
‘Feel for all the staff trying to manage the flow of passengers.’
Network Rail has been contacted for comment.