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Train journeys hit by flooding in Maidstone and Northfleet and a fallen tree has blocked the line at Paddock Wood

Train passengers can expect delays in Kent after flash flooding stopped services and a tree fell across the tracks.

Southeastern said: "We've been advised of localised flooding which means trains cannot run from Swanley to Ashford via Maidstone East."

It added: "A tree is also blocking both lines at Paddock Wood so no trains can run between Tonbridge and Ashford. Response staff are on their way to both areas."

The train company said flooding at Maidstone was "quite severe" but said it was hoping to run trains on the opposite side of the tracks.

It added: "Flooding has blocked the railways in the direction away from London. The water level is going down but it's not yet safe to run."

Trains are running between Maidstone Barracks/West to Strood where passengers can change. Replacement buses are running along the Maidstone East line.

A spokesman said: "We had hoped to run trains in both directions on one line at Maidstone East but unfortunately the flood has worsened. Buses are being arranged to go to Otford and Ashford to get people home."

Downpour at Swanley railway station. Picture: Ciaran Duggan
Downpour at Swanley railway station. Picture: Ciaran Duggan

Southeastern said services were also running on the opposite side of the Ashford-bound track blocked by the tree.

It said it hoped the tree would be cleared "soon".

A spokesman said: "We've been advised that the line will reopen but trains will run at a very slow speed past the tree.

"Only one line is open so trains will be delayed in both directions.

"Sorry for the disruption."

Paddock Wood railway station
Paddock Wood railway station

Flooding also closed platform one at Northfleet station this afternoon so trains heading towards London could not stop there.

Passengers were told to go via Swanscombe and Gravesend. Tickets were being accepted on the high speed services between London and Ashford.

Trouble on the tracks followed after the Maidstone area was hit by thunderstorms and sheet lightning.

Network Rail tweeted a diagram of all the lightning strikes and said it had affected signalling on some lines.

It added: "Sorry to say the rain is worsening across West Kent and we’ve had to block both lines at Maidstone East and extend our 40mph speed restriction as far as Sevenoaks. Please follow @Se_Railway for travel information as this will cause disruption tonight."

Flood water also bubbled out of a storm drain in the middle of a garden in Ditton and covered the lawn.

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Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone

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