Thousands of rail passengers will have their journeys disrupted for up to ten days after a suspected arson attack at a key junction in Staffordshire.
Virgin Trains and Central Trains services will be affected after the cables by lines at Rugeley, south of Stafford, were set on fire deliberately on Wednesday night.
Virgin is worst hit with services on the West Coast Main Line to London, from Scotland, Manchester and Liverpool, needing to be diverted via Birmingham - adding an extra 30 minutes to journey times.
This will have a knock-on effect on Central services, although engineering work on the Trent Valley line means the company will be able to operate a largely normal timetable in the West Midlands.
Central services between Birmingham New Street and Stafford via Walsall will terminate at Hednesford, where passengers can change on to a special bus service that runs to Rugeley Town, Rugeley Trent Valley and Stafford.
Buses will also replace trains between Stafford, Rugeley Trent Valley, Rugeley Town and Hednesford, where passengers can change on to train services to Birmingham New Street.
A Virgin spokesman said usual off-peak services from Birmingham to London had to be cut from every half-hour to hourly to make room for the diverted trains.
"It's too early to say if it's arson, but it looks that way. It's a cable fire so you would not expect that normally," he said.
A Network Rail spokeswoman said: "A fire in a signalling systems room was reported around 2am on Wednesday in the Rugeley area on the West Coast Main Line. The fire is being treated as an appalling act of vandalism. British Transport Police are leading the investigation.
"Network Rail engineers are working to rectify the damage and it will be some time before normal services resume".
British Transport Police were unavailable for comment lastnight.
The incident comes a month after a £50,000 reward - one of the biggest in rail history - was offered for information leading to the conviction of a suspected serial arsonist who has been targeting the the West Midlands network.