Firefighters trudged across a school playing field to get to a railway line to battle flames near Epsom station this morning.

Three fire engines were called to tackle the blaze coming from a maintenance train shortly after 6am, which resulted in widespread train cancellations in Epsom, Ewell and other locations.

Earlier this morning: Train catches fire at Epsom

A spokesman at Epsom fire station said a train driver raised the alarm when his engine compartment caught fire while he was carrying out maintenance work and clearing the tracks.

The spokesman said: "The only problem we had is it was difficult to get to because it was not in a station. It was underneath the footbridge by Rosebery School.

"It is quite an isolated stretch and there is no road access to that part of the railway. It delayed them in getting to it."

He said a caretaker opened the school gates for the firefighters and they went across the school playing fields in order to get onto the railway line.

The spokesman said: "The driver’s compartment and undercarriage wheels caught alight. Two firefighters using breathing apparatus and a hose reel put the fire out once they managed to get there.

"We had to wait for the power to be isolated before firefighters could go on the tracks and put the fire out. I think that’s why all the trains were cancelled."

He added: "Railway incidents are renowned for being difficult to access because of the location."

A Network Rail spokeswoman apologised to passengers who endured a difficult morning on the railway today.

She said: "At around 6.05am a fire was reported on one of the many leaf-busting trains that run over our railway overnight.

"Once the fire was extinguished and train towed away we were able to get things moving again. We would like to thank passengers for their patience."

Were you affected by the delays this morning?

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