Express & Star

Travellers stranded as major disruption continues into Tuesday

National Rail said the disruption at London Paddington was expected to continue until midday.

Queen Elizabeth II funeral

Disruption to train services in and out of London Paddington continued overnight with many passengers stranded in Reading following the Queen’s funeral.

No trains have been able to enter or leave Paddington station, west London, since 6.30am on Monday because of damage to overhead electric wires near Hayes and Harlington station.

National Rail said the disruption was expected to continue until midday on Tuesday.

Services run by GWR, Heathrow Express and the Elizabeth line have been disrupted all day.

In Berkshire, Reading Station saw long queues of people trying to get on to services 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 amid a limited number of departing trains, with some being taken as far as Birmingham by car as a result.

One woman, who was visibly distressed by the disruption and the prospect of getting stuck hours from home on her own overnight, said her journey in and out of London on Monday was set to total around 10 hours as opposed to the usual three and resulted in her missing the Queen’s funeral and procession which she had come to see.

Another 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.”

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

The sound of the choir at Westminster Abbey echoed through the carriages of delayed trains as mourners watched the service on their smartphones.

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: “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.”

Passengers on a GWR train were told by a member of staff using the public address system: “My sincerest apologies for the delays on such an important day for the country.”

A train that left Paddington at 6.25am was stuck outside the station for more than two-and-a-half hours with passengers on board.

One passenger said it took them five-and-a-half hours to reach Paddington from Castle Cary, instead of the scheduled one hour and 40 minutes.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “We are very sorry for the disruption which we expect to continue throughout the day.

“We are working hard to get services running as soon as possible and passengers are strongly advised to check before they travel.

“We will continue to update passengers as the situation develops.”

Network Rail said there were no problems affecting London’s other major stations.

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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