Rail chaos which ruined mourners’ journeys continues for second day


evere disruption to train services in and out of London Paddington will continue until the end of Tuesday, passengers have been warned.

Services will also end early, with the last trains leaving before 10pm, to allow extra time for overhead lines to be repaired overnight.

Many were left stranded in Reading on Monday night following the Queen’s funeral. Trains to and from Windsor and Reading had been diverted via Waterloo.

Network Rail said some lines had reopened on Tuesday morning but warned: “Major disruption is due to continue throughout the day.”

It said “more extensive damage” was found in the morning, meaning two of the four electrified lines into Paddington would not have power on Tuesday – meaning they could only be used by diesel trains.

Problems with the overhead lines were first discovered at 6.40am on Monday near Hayes and Harlington station.

A train became entangled in the wires, as did others – causing damage to almost two miles of power cables. An investigation has been launched into the source of the damage.

Both the Elizabeth line and the Heathrow Express only operate electric trains. Both operators were restarting services by mid-morning on Tuesday but train frequencies had been reduced to a half-hourly service.

The main lines into Paddington are also used by Great Western. It warned of “considerable disruption” throughout Tuesday, saying some trains may be terminated at Reading and “stations between Slough and London may not be served”.

It said: “Passengers are strongly advised only to travel if necessary.”

Many passengers had been advised to change trains at Reading, leading to long queues of people at the station on Monday night.

In further travel disruption Tuesday morning, a safety inspection of the track between South Croydon and Oxted meant some services between those stations could be cancelled or delayed until 9am.

This affects popular commuter routes on Southern between London Victoria and East Grinstead, and also between London Bridge and Uckfield.

Thameslink services between Bedford and East Grinstead were also impacted.

Monday’s travel chaos saw long queues of people trying to get on to services at Reading back into London and others finding their trains cancelled or delayed as they tried to travel further west.

Station staff were trying to order taxis for passengers who lived further afield and risked becoming stuck at the station overnight. Some were taken as far as Birmingham by car as a result.

One passenger, who asked not to be named, said: “The communication has been diabolical.

“People have been told to get off trains that were actually running and change services to get to different destinations, only to find that those trains were then cancelled.

“There doesn’t seem to have been any forward thinking as to what would happen in the evening, despite the problems going on all day.”

The Queen has just been there throughout the whole of my life. This was the only thing I wanted to do

Mourners travelling into the capital on Monday morning resorted to watching funeral proceedings on their mobiles as they were stuck on trains and platforms.

Bev Palfreman said she was “absolutely gutted” to miss the start of the funeral.

The 61-year-old from Oakhampton, Devon, said: “The Queen has just been there throughout the whole of my life. This was the only thing I wanted to do.”

Gaby Thomas, 29, who travelled from Castle Cary, Somerset, with her father, said Monday: “My dad is a former naval officer and he wanted to see the procession and the military involved.

“It’s just about being there. We were meant to arrive in Paddington at about 8.30am. We are still hoping to catch the end of the procession.”

Monday saw one of the UK’s biggest transport operations as mourners descended on London and Windsor.

Around 250 extra train services were planned.

They included a 3am departure from Penzance, Cornwall, for Paddington, which left with no passengers, according to news website CornwallLive.

The service only ran as far as Reading due to the damaged wires.


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