Commuters are facing more disruption today on services to and from one of the UK’s busiest railway stations, after thousands of passengers were stuck on cold, dark trains for hours.
Damage was caused to overhead electricity wires after a train hit an obstruction outside London Paddington on Thursday night – meaning power had to be switched off.
Great Western Railway, Heathrow Express and Elizabeth line services were all affected, with National Rail warning disruption will continue until the weekend.
Friday morning commuters were warned their journeys may be delayed by up to 90 minutes and urged to use alternative routes.
It comes on the final day of a wave of strikes by drivers in a long-running dispute over pay.
Members of the ASLEF union on Northern Trains and TransPennine Express are walking out.
Both operators are set to cancel services, and the industrial action could also lead to knock-on disruption on Saturday.
Footage from last night showed people huddled in darkness as young children wailed – and eventually, trains were evacuated with passengers walking along railway tracks to safety.
One passenger said it felt like a “wartime” evacuation.
Image: Passengers after being evacuated from trains at Paddington station in London on Thursday night. Pic: @mikeyworrall1
Image: Pic: @mikeyworrall1 Some reported being stuck for more than three hours while receiving no information from operators.
Singer James Blunt and TV presenter Rachel Riley were among those affected by the disruption.
Engineers worked through the night to get two of the four lines serving Paddington open for electric trains.
A Network Rail spokesman said this morning: “We are so sorry for the difficult journeys passengers endured on our railway last night and we will be investigating how and why it happened.
“The knock-on effects from last night mean operators will not be able to run a full service from Paddington today and passengers should check before they travel.
“Repairs are ongoing and we hope to have the railway fully open by the weekend.”
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Mikey Worrall, who was one of those stranded on an Elizabeth line train last night, said it was “the most surreal evening” of his life.
He said: “We saw a couple of workers come past, and they were trying to keep everyone calm. Suddenly, we saw a stream of people coming down the track, and at that point, it was clear that we would be getting off.
“It was really eerie walking down the railway line in amongst this big crowd of people. It felt like a wartime thing.”
Blunt posted on X: “Been stuck somewhere outside Paddington for close to 4 hours now. Out of peanuts and wine”, while Riley wrote: “Nearly 4 hours after we got on, we’re getting off the Elizabeth line, woohoo!”
Stranded passengers on social media described people on their trains “getting agitated” and “kicking doors”.
Some bemoaned a lack of information from drivers and train crew, and reported they were unable to use the toilets.
Others wrote of queues forming for people to be let out one-by-one by the train driver to use the tracks and neighbouring fields to go to the toilet.