Statements from c2c and Greater Anglia this evening have confirmed that there will be serious delays on Friday morning as emergency line checks need to be carried out before trains are able to run into Fenchurch Street and Liverpool Street.

A joint update from both providers confirmed that Network Rail maintenance crews had spotted a number of Pokemon Go characters on the line over the course of Thursday afternoon, and also that members of the public had been observed trying to get onto the tracks to ‘catch them’ using the popular smartphone app.

The update said: ‘There have been numerous sightings of Pokemon Go characters along the two main rail routes from London to Southend, and as a result we have been forced to send specialist teams out into the field to ensure that they are all caught before rush-hour trains can commence on Friday morning.’

‘We have conducted a thorough risk assessment into the situation, and we concluded that the average South Essex railway bystander would probably risk their own life in order to gain XP points. People really need to weigh up the benefits of a Jigglypuff against being splatted by the 6:34 from Laindon.’

‘Our specialist teams will be combing both the c2c and Greater Anglia routes from 4.30am on Friday morning, and they will ensure that all characters in unsafe locations are accounted for. Characters on platforms will be left available for commuting players, and we will also check to see that there are plenty of characters in catering concessions.’

A source at c2c added: ‘When we devised the new timetable, we went through a significant amount of consultation sessions with Nintendo to ensure that the launch of Pokemon Go wouldn’t have a serious effect on scheduled services. Unfortunately, these projections have turned out to be inaccurate, and we never predicted that commuters would be that bloody stupid.’