THOUSANDS of rail commuters endured travel misery after torrential rain caused landslides, destroyed power lines and flooded tracks.

Passengers using services on the East Coast Main Line suffered long delays when more than a mile of overhead power cables were damaged after a landslip near Aycliffe village, in County Durham.

Trains between Middlesbrough and Seaham on the Durham coast line were also affected when a signal fell down an embankment at Hartlepool.

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Engineers are tonight (Wednesday) working to restore power at Aycliffe, and three trains were still running every hour in each direction, with emergency crews rebuilding the embankment at Hartlepool.

However, Network Rail has warned the repairs might not be completed until at least the weekend.

The heavy rain caused delays to rail services across the region, with East Coast Main Line services between Darlington and Durham reduced to one train an hour after flooding at Preston le Skerne, near Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.

Services between Darlington and Northallerton were briefly suspended after flooding at Eryholme, and engineers were called to carry out emergency repairs on the line at Dawdon, near Seaham, when water damaged the track bed.

CrossCountry services to and from Newcastle were forced to start and terminate at York, and trains travelling to and from Scotland started and stopped at Leeds, with buses running between Darlington, Durham and Newcastle.

First TransPennine Express trains to and from Newcastle terminated at Darlington, with passengers urged to use other operators between Darlington and Durham.

A spokesman for Network Rail apologised for delays to services.

He said: “These extreme weather conditions have brought great disruption, but our engineers are working around the clock to repair the embankment and power lines.

“It is a big job and we will do it as quickly as we can, but it could be the weekend before we get back to normal.”

The damage came after torrential rain battered the North-East, with the River Skerne, in Darlington, rising to record levels in places.

Police were forced to close a bridge in John Street on Tuesday morning as a precaution when the river peaked at 2.18m.

The previous highest recorded level at the spot was 1.87m in 2005.

Haughton Road today remains closed after it was flooded, but the Environment Agency has now removed a flood warning on the town.