TRAINS were stopped between Sunderland and the south after a cable caught fire.
Firefighters were called to Hawthorn Viaduct, between Seaham and Hartlepool stations, at 11.30am on Friday.
It was reported that a blaze had broken out beneath the gravel on the southbound track.
It is understood the fire was either caused by a fault or thieves trying to burn off the plastic around the metal.
As emergency services travelled to the scene, trains were halted in both directions.
A crew from Seaham put out the fire using extinguishers.
However, it was made a “greater task” because the site of the blaze was about a mile from the nearest road.
It took the firefighters up to two hours to deal with the incident. Services are now running normally.