The Southampton to Bournemouth railway line was closed following the discovery of another cracked rail.

Services were suspended after rail staff spotted a damaged piece of track on a level crossing in the New Forest in the early hours of Tuesday.

The discovery sparked fears that the crossing, next to Brockenhurst station, would be closed for most of the day.

But engineers managed to replace the damaged track by 7am, averting several hours of disruption for passengers and drivers.

It follows the discovery of cracked or broken rails at other locations across the south.

The crossing is on the A337 Lyndhurst to Lymington road - one of the busiest routes in the Forest.

It was closed while a 63ft section of line was removed and replaced.

At 4am Network Rail Wessex and South Western Railway warned passengers that the line between Bournemouth and Southampton Central was affected and urged them not to attempt to travel between the two stations until at least 8am.

But at 7am Hampshire County Council confirmed that the incident had been resolved.

Posting on social media it said: "Teams have worked hard overnight to resolve the issue and the road has now reopened, much earlier than anticipated."

The council had earlier warned that A337 at Brockenhurst could be shut for most of the day.

It said: "A road closure is in place at Brockenhurst level crossing. This is on behalf of Network Rail due to an issue on the railway.

"The road is expected to be closed for most of today. Please avoid the area and follow the signed diversion."

A South Western Railway spokesman later confirmed that the line had now reopened but said disruption was expected to continue until noon.

Network Rail has also been contacted for comment.

The A337 is one of the main north-south routes in the Forest. Had the road closure continued, drivers would have had to take long diversions using roads to the north and south of Brockenhurst.

Update Tuesday 5 December, 7am:

Teams have worked hard overnight to resolve the issue and the road has now reopened, much earlier than anticipated. @hantshighways @ROMANSE