Football fans heading to the Carling Cup final at Wembley faced transport chaos after a train derailed overnight, leaving the main line between Liverpool and London blocked.

Thousands of Liverpool supporters made the journey to the capital to watch their team take on Cardiff City in the cup clash.

But those planning to travel on the rail network were advised to alter their plans.

Virgin Trains said an engineering train derailed at Winsford, in Cheshire, overnight, leaving the line between Liverpool and Crewe and Warrington and Crewe blocked.

A Virgin spokesman said: "Due to the derailment of an engineering train at Winsford overnight, the line between Liverpool and Crewe and Warrington and Crewe is blocked."

National Rail said there would be no trains from Liverpool Lime Street to Crewe until further notice. Further details of the problems and the impact on services can be found at www.nationalrail.co.uk/service_disruptions/today.html.

A spokesman for Virgin Trains later added: "We can't confirm a time yet but Network Rail are working very hard to get things going again.

"It will be too late for fans getting to London but the fans are getting the message and are on their way to London.

"We have a problem because 10% of our train fleet is in Liverpool and are unable to get out which limits our opportunity to get more trains running."