Commuters and leisure travellers have been warned to expect weeks of disruption until the summer after a huge electrical fault brought both the C2C and the Greater Anglia lines to a complete standstill earlier this afternoon. At around 3pm on Monday, passengers reported seeing smoke in a number of stations, and it has emerged that both of the lines have been running off a single electrical outlet in Stratford since 2014 – this has been branded as ‘a disaster waiting to happen’ by rail experts. 

A source confirmed the news earlier this evening. He said: ‘When C2C and Greater Anglia secretly decided to cut costs and share a sub-station outlet in January 2014, we all knew that this day would come eventually. In real terms, it’s like having a single plug socket at home with an extension lead that is running a hair dryer, a fridge, a washing machine, a TV, an air-con unit and a major metropolitan railway network. The sub-station at Stratford finally blew up this afternoon and it took most of the electrical cabling with it between Fenchurch Street, Liverpool Street, Southend Victoria and Shoeburyness.’

He added: ‘Both lines are frantically trying to hire diesel locomotives so that they can at least run a reduced service in the coming days, but the diesel loco hire market is very expensive these days, and the accountants have warned that there could be a 30% fare hike to cover the shortfall. On the C2C line in particular, the new timetable is laying in tatters while bosses scramble to find temporary engines – fortunately a number of the old slam-door trains are in storage at the Shoeburyness depot and they have been converted to steam.’

Passengers are reminded that C2C tickets will be accepted on Greater Anglia replacement buses, and also that Greater Anglia tickets will be accepted on C2C replacement buses. Some buses in Southend will accept tickets from both lines, provided that passengers pay the usual adult fare, and taxis will hang around at stations for the moment when everyone just loses the f*cking will to live anyway.