London party

More rail chaos for London commuters as damage to overhead lines closes many key routes

Travelers trying to get in and out of London face severe disruption tonight as services at two of the capital’s busiest stations have been cancelled.

Damage to overhead wires at Stevenage meant several trains to and from Kings Cross were canceled this evening, causing ‘chaos’ at one of the main gateways to the north of England.

The disruption to the line, which runs London North Eastern Railway (LNER), Great Northern, Thameslink and Hull Trains services, has sparked angry scenes in Finsbury Park after passengers became stranded.

Meanwhile, there has also been severe disruption in Paddington, just a day after tens of thousands of mourners trying to leave after the Queen’s funeral had their trains cancelled.

No trains from the west of England and south Wales were able to reach the London terminus yesterday after overhead lines were damaged near Hayes and Harlington at 6.30am on Monday morning.

Although some trains were able to run today, there were far fewer services than normal and departures scheduled after 10pm tonight have been canceled so that more repair work can be carried out on the line.

Train information boards at Kings Cross station this evening showed no services leaving the terminus

Crowds gathered on the platforms at Finsbury Park station (pictured) as services were canceled at peak times

Crowds gathered on the platforms at Finsbury Park station (pictured) as services were canceled at peak times

Many passengers had to scramble to find alternative routes home after damage to overhead wires at Stevenage forced the line to close.  Pictured: Travelers at Finsbury Park station this evening

Many passengers had to scramble to find alternative routes home after damage to overhead wires at Stevenage forced the line to close. Pictured: Travelers at Finsbury Park station this evening

Services run by LNER, Thameslink, Great Northern and Hull Trains have all been affected.  Pictured: Passengers at Finsbury Park station this evening

Services run by LNER, Thameslink, Great Northern and Hull Trains have all been affected. Pictured: Passengers at Finsbury Park station this evening

The travel chaos comes today as London and the rest of the country try to get back to normal after the Queen’s funeral yesterday.

Roads in and around the capital were closed for Her Majesty’s funeral and subsequent procession to Windsor Castle, while rail services saw higher than normal passenger numbers as millions of people were coming down to London to watch.

However, it was not expected to go smoothly today, after two separate incidents involving damage to overhead cables led to a series of cancellations.

The damage in Stevenage meant people crossing Kings Cross and Finsbury Park faced severe disruption during rush hour.

At the London terminus, there were disturbing scenes for passengers. All train information boards displayed a special notice confirming that all services in and out of the station had been cancelled.

Further up the line, at Finsbury Park, the docks became packed with people as passengers faced serious delays and had to make other arrangements to get home.

On social media, commuters reported seeing people “in tears” and described the scenes at both stations as “chaos”.

Some lines reopened later in the evening, but LNER said there would be “major disruption” until at least the end of the day.

On its website, LNER said: ‘Some lines have now reopened following damage to overhead wires at Stevenage earlier today.

“Trains passing through this station may still be canceled or severely delayed.

“Major disruptions are expected until the end of the day.”

He added: ‘At this time Great Northern and Thameslink ask that you consider finding your own personal travel arrangements. If you are traveling, your travel time will be significantly extended.

“We are working to reintroduce services to the area, but the number of trains and crews affected by this incident means this process will be lengthy.”

There are also serious delays at Paddington tonight after two miles of overhead wire were damaged near Hayes and Harlington at 6.30am yesterday.

The PA news agency reports that the damage was believed to have occurred after a number of trains became entangled.

This prompted the cancellation of all trains between Reading and Paddington, resulting in chaotic scenes in Waterloo as tens of thousands of mourners from the Queen’s funeral tried to find alternative routes out of the capital.

Services from the station to destinations in the west of England and south Wales are operating today, but at significantly reduced levels, causing delays and cancellations.

All four lines serving Paddington reopened on Tuesday morning after a 27-hour suspension, but wires were only working above two of them.

Trains due to leave Paddington after 10pm tonight have been canceled in a bid to allow workers to try to fully repair damaged cables, although Great Western Railway has warned further disruption is expected tomorrow.

There were chaotic scenes at Reading station (pictured) last night as all trains to and from Paddington were canceled

There were chaotic scenes at Reading station (pictured) last night as all trains to and from Paddington were canceled

Damaged overhead wires near Hayes and Harlington (pictured) caused severe disruption today

Damaged overhead wires near Hayes and Harlington (pictured) caused severe disruption today

There will be no GWR and Heathrow Express services to and from London Paddington until 6am Wednesday, while National Rail advises passengers to use alternative routes to reach their destinations.

On its website, Great Western Railway GWR said: ‘Due to damage to overhead power cables between Slough and London Paddington, fewer trains can run on all lines.

“Train services to and from these stations will be cancelled, delayed or revised.

“Short notice delays and cancellations are expected for the rest of the day.

“Network Rail engineers will undertake further repair work this evening.

“This means GWR will not be able to operate services to or from London Paddington from 10.00pm tonight until 06.00am tomorrow (Wednesday 21 September). Services will start and end in Reading instead.

“The last train departing London Paddington – on Tuesday 20th September 2022 will be at 9.48pm from London Paddington to Swansea.

“The last train arriving in London Paddington – on Tuesday 20th September 2022, will be 8.00pm Bristol Temple Meads to London Paddington (arriving 9.34pm).”