'Do not travel' alert issued after freight train derails on major route

A "do not travel" alert has been issued - and rail services cancelled and delayed - after a freight train derailed on a major route between England and Scotland.

The incident happened on the West Coast Main Line between Penrith and Oxenholme Lake District on Wednesday night.

Some lines are blocked and a very limited train service is running on the line that remains open.

Train operators Avanti West Coast and TransPennine Express issued the alert, urging passengers not to attempt to use their services for journeys between Preston and Scotland on Thursday.

Ticket holders can delay journeys until Friday or travel with other operators.

Network Rail apologised to passengers affected by the derailment and warned services would be disrupted for the rest of the day.

It said specialist repair teams were on site working as fast as they can to make the railway safe.

A spokesperson told Sky News: "We are working hard to move a partly derailed freight train near Shap, between Oxenholme and Penrith on the West Coast Main Line.

"We're really sorry to passengers whose journeys have been impacted while we work to safely reopen the line as quickly as possible.

"Please check before you travel if travelling north of Preston."

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Network Rail's acting North West route strategy director Kara Wood added: "Disruption is expected for the rest of the day, so we're urging people to plan their journeys and check before they travel with their train operator or National Rail Enquiries."