RAIL commuters were left facing major disruption after engineering works overran causing chaos to the Monday morning commute to work for thousands of passengers.

South Western Railway services between Surbiton and London Waterloo, the UK’s busiest station, only began running at about 10am.

Disruption on SWR services was "expected until the end of the day," after Network Rail work, due to finish in the early hours, was delayed.

Rush-hour trains were cancelled, leaving thousands stranded as passengers using SWR services were initially advised not to travel amid widespread cancellations.

Passengers blasted the travel chaos on social media as "a complete and utter shambles", with several claiming "critical jobs" such as teachers, doctors and nurses would be affected.

Network Rail apologised to passengers, while SWR warned services across its entire network may be cancelled, delayed or revised for the rest of the day.

Data published by rail information website www.trains.im showed by 10.45am, 269 SWR trains had been cancelled – or were more than 30 minutes late – meaning 75 per cent of all services had been affected.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: "We share the frustrations of passengers trying to get into London this morning.

"The disruption is unacceptable, and we are seeking an urgent explanation from Network Rail as to why their engineering works have overrun."

On social media, Silvia Mendes described the disruption as a "complete and utter shambles" while Richard Sansom posted: "You have got to be kidding me @SW_Railway.

Richard Hughes added angrily: “Great start to the week. You should start reducing fares because you are not providing the service we all pay for. Shocking.”

Stephen Hicks stormed: “So many people in critical jobs need to travel to work – teachers, doctors, nurses - you can’t allow this to happen again.”

Network Rail blamed overnight work near Hampton Court, which was originally due to finish at 4.30am but overran, forcing widespread cancellations during the morning rush hour.

In a statement SWR said at the end of the morning rush: "All lines have now re-opened. Network Rail has now completed their work."

All lines and stations that were closed, including Woking, Surbiton, Raynes Park and Earlsfield reopened by late morning, but disruption continued throughout the day.

Rail bosses were left working frantically to get trains – and staff – in the right places to run as many evening rush-hour services as possible.

The Rail Maritime and Transport Union’s long-running dispute over the role of guards on trains have left SWR services strike bound for five days during the October half-term and on four Saturdays in November, badly affecting services from Surrey and Hampshire.

The RMT called for the resignation of Transport Secretary Chris Grayling after what it called the latest railway "meltdown".

General secretary Mick Cash said: "While the crisis on our railways deepens, the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is markedly absent. He should go, and he should go now."Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said: "Passengers rely on the railway - this morning tens of thousands of passengers coming into Waterloo could not."While engineering and improvement works need to be done, such late notice of the fundamental problems on the approaches to Waterloo this morning is unacceptable."