The winding queue of people stretches from East Croydon station to Lower Addiscombe Road - at least half a mile.

From the top of the Cherry Orchard Road, people line the wall for as far as the eye can see.

Starting from the side of East Croydon station, the queue travels down past the Post Office, before turning left into Cross Road.

There, the queue ends at the junction of Alfa Road, but with every second that passes another 10 people join the back.

Despair hangs in the air and although everyone is clearly annoyed, there are sympathetic smiles all round.

"Is this a joke?" asks one commuter as he stands at the top of Cross Road and realises he is nowhere near the end of the queue.

Police and Southern staff have stayed on the main road, but the orderly queue continues with people politely asking the last in line "is this the back?"

Commuters standing this far down face a two and a half hour wait to get to the front, where they will get on a rail replacement bus to continue their journey.

Hayley, 25, is travelling from Brighton to the West Midlands and fears she might not make it home in time for work tomorrow.

She said: "This is ridiculous, I'm sure this could have been dealt with much better.

"It seems there is only one bus and staff are trying to tell people it is not that long but it is a good few miles. A few extra coaches would help."