Clyde the tortoise undergoes shell surgery after being struck by train

Clyde the tortoise on the line between Norwich and Cambridge.

Clyde the tortoise on the line between Norwich and Cambridge - Credit: Diane Akers

Clyde the tortoise, who caused distress and delay for rail passengers when he crawled on to the line near Norwich, has undergone successful shell surgery after being was struck by a train.

The reptile clambered into danger at Harling Road in Larling at about 1.20pm on Monday, leading to train cancellations and disruption on the line between Norwich and Cambridge.

In total Clyde caused two trains to be terminated early and another to leave the station 20 minutes late.

But it has now been revealed the tortoise was badly injured when he was struck by one of the trains, leaving Clyde with a hole in his shell.

Clyde caused delays for about an hour.

Clyde caused delays for about an hour - Credit: Network Rail

Clyde escaped his home at Swallow Aquatics in East Harling on Sunday and managed to crawl a quarter of a mile in two days before ending up on the track.

The 2.5ft-long tortoise has now gone under the knife after one member of the train crew rushed Clyde to a nearby reptile specialist.

A Greater Anglia spokesman said: "Our team took it to a local reptile specialist and one crew member has been keeping in touch with them.

"At the moment we understand Clyde is undergoing surgery as he was quite badly injured when he was struck by a train, which has left a hole in part of his shell."

The tortoise on the Norwich to Stansted line this afternoon.

The tortoise on the Norwich to Stansted line this afternoon. - Credit: Greater Anglia

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However at 2pm today, Network Rail confirmed the Giant African Spurred Tortoise would soon be returning home after his surgery was successful.

A spokesperson for the rail operator said: "We are happy to report that Clyde is okay [and] will be returning home soon, if a little shell-shocked perhaps."

One surprised passenger, Lydia Jane White, took to Twitter to express her surprise at being told the news over the train's public address system.

She said: "Train delayed because of a giant tortoise, too heavy to lift, stuck on the train tracks after having escaped from a local wildlife centre, is not something I thought I'd ever hear from a train driver."