Southern Railway have said the 16 hours of delays faced by passengers after a man was hit by a train at East Croydon station yesterday could not have been avoided.

Services were disrupted until 9pm after the man, believed to be in his early 40s and from Croydon, was struck by a London Victoria to Brighton service at 5.25am.

Witnesses reported seeing the man on the tracks before he was hit.

Medics from the London Ambulance Service attended but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The death is being treated as non-suspicious by officers from British Transport Police.

Southern Railway issued an apology to passengers who were delayed.

A spokesman said the incident happened at one of the worst possible places, as all lines running through East Croydon station had to be closed while it was dealt with.

He said: "All of our mainline services into London either call at East Croydon or pass through and with the morning peak approaching, nothing was able to move in either direction for some time."

Southern said once the incident was dealt with and trains started running again, their next task was to recover the timetable as quickly as possible.

But the wide-spread disruption across their network meant short notice alterations and service cancellations had to be made.

The spokesman added: "To make a difficult service recovery even more challenging, many trains and train crews were displaced- in the wrong place at the wrong time- which added to the time taken to recover the service.

By 6pm there were 13 trains running with delays and from then on, the odd train had to be altered at short notice.

"As with all incidents of this nature, we will be conducting a review to look at how the disruption was handled, with a view to making improvements to the recovery procedure where possible."