Passengers are suffering major disruption after a freight train derailed on a major route between England and Scotland.

Services are being cancelled and delayed because of the incident on the West Coast Main Line between Carlisle and Oxenholme Lake District on Wednesday afternoon, National Rail Enquiries said.

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

Ian, 33, from Warrington, was stranded in Carlisle on Wednesday night and had to stay in a hotel after his original train home left the station but was forced to return soon after.

The project manager, who did not want to share his surname, told the PA news agency how “hundreds” of passengers were stuck in Carlisle, saying many were unable to return home for the night.

“I got on a train at 4pm (on Wednesday) to go home and I was on the first train that got stuck,” he said.

“Shortly after Penrith it stopped and someone said there had been an issue up ahead. It then went backwards towards Carlisle and left us there and we were told coaches were being arranged.

“When we got to Carlisle, it was just a mess.

“There were hundreds of people trying to club together to get taxis to Wigan or Preston.”

Ian, who was in the city for work, said he was able to board a coach after a few hours but said he realised he would either get stuck in Preston for the night or get home in the early hours of Thursday morning, so he decided to book a hotel room for around £60 instead.

“I decided to get a hotel and stay there with the expectation that things would be back to normal in the morning because that’s what all the staff were saying,” he said.

As the travel issues persist, Ian said a colleague who lives in Manchester has offered to drive to Carlisle to pick him up and take him home, along with another colleague who was stranded in the city overnight.

Other affected passengers took to social media platform X, formerly Twitter, with one person saying they had been “stranded for over 6 hours” on Wednesday night.

Another passenger wrote on Thursday: “I’m sat on a static train outside Penrith station.

“We’ve been told that it would ‘probably be significantly more than an hour’ to get through the block.

“No replacement buses. People with cases for flights… no route to the Midlands. No replacement buses. Chaos.”

In a subsequent message, he wrote that he had been “dumped in Penrith” and his journey was “3 hours late”.

Train operators Avanti West Coast and TransPennine Express issued a “do not travel” 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’s acting North West route strategy director Kara Wood said: “We’re sorry to passengers affected by the derailment.

“We have specialist repair teams on site working as fast as they can to make the railway safe.

“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.”