Rush hour rail passengers could be herded onto bus replacement services as disruption continues on the tracks this afternoon (July 22).
All train services departing from, and passing through, Preston and Lancaster have been affected - leading to dozens of cancelled journeys and delays.
The lines first became blocked between Preston and Lancaster at around 10.30am this morning (July 22).
The line from Preston to Lancaster is now open but remains subject to delays and cancellations.
Northern initially reassured passengers that services would resume at 11.30am, as engineers set to work on the damaged overhead wires.
But the damage is now understood to have been more severe than originally thought.
The rail operator said disruption is now expected until 6pm - affecting peak evening rush hour.
One service between Lancaster and Preston had been stranded for nearly three hours this afternoon, before passengers were evacuated onto rail replacement bus.
The train is one of several services that had to be evacuated, with chartered buses en route to pick up frustrated passengers.
Buses are being mobilised to shuttle stranded passengers between stations during evening rush hour.
One passenger, Diana Davies, said: "Absolutely fed up with this farce. Our train service in the North West is worse than third world service.
"Is anyone doing anything about it? Talk about the north being left behind, it's a joke!"
Lynn Wright added: "Yesterday, Northern cancelled loads of trains due to not having enough staff.
"It took me 4.5 hours to travel the usual 1.5 hours. They are a joke!"
A spokesman for Northern said: "Train services running through Preston and Lancaster will be disrupted until approximately 6pm.
"This is due to an issue with the overhead lines between Preston and Lancaster.
"Rail replacement transport is now running between Preston and Lancaster in both directions.
"This disruption will also affect Northern customers between Lancaster and Barrow, and Oxenholme and Windermere, due to the mainline being closed.
"Passengers are advised to listen for announcements and check information screens for up dates where possible for your service today.
"Ticket acceptance has been agreed with Transpennine Express between Manchester Piccadilly and Preston in both directions."
If you've been delayed by 15 minutes or more, hold on to your tickets and claim compensation by visiting northernrailway.co.uk/delayrepay