Trains running north out of King’s Cross were severely disrupted on Tuesday after damage to overhead electric wires.
Lines on the East Coast Main Line were blocked as engineers worked to fix the problem with the wires between Peterborough and London.
National Rail said it was expecting “major disruption” to last until the end of the day - while Wednesday will see many services cancelled due to a walkout by the RMT union.
The disruption was likely to increase numbers on some services running from St Pancras International to Sheffield, where England fans are set to cheer on the Lionesses in the Euro Women’s semi-finals.
“Due to the closure of the East Coast Mainline between Peterborough and London Kings Cross, East Midlands Railway Services are experiencing high volumes of passengers,” said National Rail, warning of the possibility of delays.
Several train companies running on the affected lines urged their passengers not to travel.
Among them was LNER, which said passengers should not travel between London and Peterborough, and said it would only be operating “a very limited service” north of Peterborough.
However this will be subject to disruption and short notice cancellations.
Other affected train operating companies included Grand Central services between Sunderland / Bradford Interchange and London, Great Northern services between Peterborough and London and LUMO services between Edinburgh and London King’s Cross.
Thameslink services were disrupted between Peterborough and Horsham / Three Bridges as were Hull Trains services between Beverley / Hull and King’s Cross.
One affected customer said online: “Absolutely gutted. All trains to King’s Cross form the north have been cancelled (major probs with power lines) so am missing my last & only chance to see Mark Rylance in @JerusalemPlay”.
Another added: “All trains were cancelled from Kings X due to overhead wires fault at Peterborough, got on Edinburgh train from Euston (even got a seat) but then in Birmingham New Street they have evacuated the whole station due to fire alarm.”
The travel misery came just a day before a large-scale strike of around 40,000 members of the RMT union is expected to take place, meaning only around a fifth of train services are expected to run.