More delays for rail passengers on GWR, Heathrow Express and Elizabeth line after fourth major issue with overhead electric wires in nine days
- Heathrow Express services cancelled as more trains than usual needing repair
- GWR and Elizabeth line are hit by points failure at Slough blocking some lines
- LNER trains between London and Edinburgh cancelled after cable damage
Train passengers on major routes across Britain endured fresh disruption yet again today, following the fourth major issue with overhead electric wires in nine days.
Heathrow Express, which serves the UK’s busiest airport, cancelled half its services today because of ‘more trains than usual needing repairs at the same time’.
Its trains as well as those from Great Western Railway and the Elizabeth line were also affected by a points failure at Slough in Berkshire which blocked some lines.
Services to and from London Paddington and both Reading and Heathrow were hit by the issue with the points which are used to move trains from one track to another.
The Great Western main line was already being investigated by the Office of Rail and Road over poor reliability – and some passengers complained of overcrowding today.
One tweeted that conditions on a Swansea to Paddington service were ‘ridiculously dangerous’ after some trains were cancelled and others were shortened.
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Great Western Railway said on X: ‘Due to congestion between London Paddington and Heathrow Terminal 5 fewer trains are able to run on all lines. Train services running to and from these stations may be cancelled or delayed.’
And Heathrow Express tweeted: ‘Services are departing at a reduced frequency due to more trains than usual needing repairs at the same time.’
It comes after four damaged rails were discovered within eight days last month.
And thousands of passengers were stranded on trains near London Paddington for four hours at Ladbroke Grove in West London on Thursday night after overhead electric cables were damaged.
Some on an Elizabeth line train were eventually evacuated in extraordinary scenes after being plunged into darkness following an electricity failure.
While the Elizabeth line only suffered minor delays today due to the points issue at Slough, one passenger tweeted: ‘Why is the Elizabeth Line cancelled? Again!’
Another added: ‘F*** TfL man. The Elizabeth line is never on time.’
Multiple London North Eastern Railway (LNER) services between London King’s Cross and Edinburgh were also cancelled today, one day after major disruption yesterday.
This came after the East Coast main line was closed between Peterborough and Grantham because overhead cables were damaged by Storm Elin on Saturday night.
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LNER, Grand Central, Hull Trains and Lumo passengers were advised not to travel yesterday while repairs were being carried out.
In a message to passengers, LNER said: ‘Following repairs to damaged overhead lines between Peterborough and Grantham at the weekend, customers are urged to check for the latest service updates before making their journey.’
Network Rail said it has completed repairs on three out of the four affected lines. Work on the fourth line is expected to be finalised overnight tonight into tomorrow.
Several operators blamed a shortage of train crew for cancelling trains today, including Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry and London Northwestern Railway.
Heavy rain has been causing issues across the UK rail network, with LNER and Northern services through Yorkshire affected by flooding at Kirkstall Forge in Leeds.
Meanwhile South Western Railway services between London Waterloo and Exeter were still being affected by a landslip which happened more than a week ago, after work to clear the area over the weekend was impacted by further bad weather.
On Saturday, Manchester Piccadilly services were disrupted after a tree fell onto overhead wires near the station.
And LNER services were severely affected on December 1 because of overhead power lines coming down on the East Coast main line between Retford and Newark.
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