LONDON: A large fire in Harrow is causing commuter chaos this morning after it broke out at the side of the track.
Dozens of people had to be woken up and taken from their homes in the middle of the night and a train had to be evacuated following the blaze.
A timber fire has damaged a retaining wall meaning that there are no services on the track between Watford Junction and London Euston.
It is affecting London Midland and Virgin Trains services to the south of Milton Keynes. Network Rail tweeted saying it would be a ‘big job to fix’.
A spokesman for the company said: ‘Owing to a fire in a commercial property next to the railway line near Harrow, train services between Watford Junction and London Euston are not running.
‘Passengers wanting to travel on the West Coast Main Line and West London Line are urged to check with their train operator or nationalrail.co.uk before travelling as disruption and cancellations are to be expected throughout the day.
‘The safety of passengers and staff is our priority. We are working with our partners at London Midland, Southern, Virgin Trains West Coast, Caledonian Sleeper and the emergency services to update passengers as when more information becomes available.’
More than 50 firefighters were sent to tackle the fire at a factory and offices in Chantry Place, Harrow.
Dozens of concerned residents called 999 after spotting the flames and huge plumes of smoke, while social media users reported hearing explosions.
People on a London Midland service from Euston to Milton Keynes had to be evacuated from the train at Headstone Lane, and were provided with taxis to get them to their destination.
The cause of the fire is not yet known.