Southern Rail has revealed how a line was blocked yesterday — after one of its trains was hit by a bird.

Services on the Lewes to Brighton line were halted after a medium sized bird — likely a “seagull or a pigeon” — struck the 14.23 to Lewes and damaged one of the train’s main air valves.

The company said the fault was fixed in 15 minutes.

Yesterday, they said the train had to be rescued and taken back to depot — preventing other services from using the line.

The bird collided with the train near Falmer at 2.30pm. Delays were estimated to continue until 5pm.

So called ‘bird-strikes’ are uncommon.

A Govia Thameslink Railway spokesperson said:

“It is rare that a bird strike will cause delay or damage to a train, but we have procedures in place to deal with incidents such as this that affect the operation of the train.”