A man climbed on top of a train causing rail chaos across Sussex yesterday.

The 39-year-old man, from Worthing, pranced on the roof of the train for an hour until he was talked down by police.

Trains were delayed and thousands of passengers faced disruption in the wake of the incident close to Durrington railway station in Worthing yesterday afternoon.

The man is believed to have climbed onto the train as it stopped just outside the station.

The man drank from a bottle and carried a whip-style object as he stood on the roof.

Witnesses described the man, who was arrested on suspicion of trespass, as sweating heavily.

He was eventually talked down and taken to Worthing Hospital. He was last night undergoing medical tests.

Passengers on board the 1.37pm Southern service from Haywards Heath to Littlehampton and other affected services said they were stunned to hear an announcement over the tannoy which said: “This train is delayed due to a drunken man on the roof at Durrington.”

Sales consultant Chris Forte, 29, from Hove, was travelling from Hove to Worthing when he was delayed at Shoreham.

He said: “The announcer was French and kept telling us what was going on. There were a lot of sniggers going around the carriage.

“He eventually told everyone to get off the train.”

Nicole Child, of Worthing, was stuck at Worthing West station where there was a crowd of about 100 people.

She said: “There were huge delays.

Still it is better he is on the roof of the train than under it.”

A British Transport Police spokeswoman said the man was thought to have been in a nearby gardens and wandered along the tracks before climbing onto the train.

The train did not move while the man was on the roof.