RAIL chiefs have apologised for delays on the west coast mainline.

But the problems have been branded a disgrace by commuters.

The apology follows a series of problems affecting Great Western Railway over the past week.

Trains were hit by overrunning engineering works in the Acton area at the beginning of the week, with services cancelled or delayed and timetables changed.

Speed restrictions were imposed at Maidenhead and yesterday trains were severely delayed after a car hit a level crossing barrier near Didcot.

In a joint statement Mark Langman, managing director of Network Rail Western, and GWR managing director Mark Hopwood apologised for the delays.

They said: "Network Rail has been working hard to resolve these problems and GWR has amended services to keep passengers moving as best as possible during this disruption."

GWR said that passengers whose journeys were cancelled or hit with hour-long delays could be entitled to compensation. To apply, visit: www.gwr.com/compensation. Season ticket holders are entitled to a 10 per cent discount only if GWR fails to meet their punctuality targets.

On Twitter, the apology drew anger from commuters. Martyn Pitt said of the company's statement: "Not much consolation to those of us paying £10k a year for season tickets who get no compensation whatsoever. It's nothing short of a disgrace."