Paddington station: Passengers face major disruption
Rail passengers are facing major disruption after a test train damaged power cables near one of London’s busiest stations.
Trains between Paddington and Slough are cancelled until at least midday after 500m of overhead cables were “severely” damaged on Tuesday night by a Hitachi train on a test run.
Services between Paddington and Heathrow airport are also not running.
Travellers are likely to be affected all day, Network Rail said.
The disruption is affecting passengers as far as south-west Wales, Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth and Penzance, Great Western Railway (GWR) said.
Network Rail said the disruption was caused by “500m of extensive damage caused to overhead power lines in the Hanwell area”.
A spokesman said it was working to fix the damage and hopes to reopen two of the four affected lines from midday.
GWR has advised passengers not to attempt to travel between Paddington and Slough until at least 12:00.
Dan Panes, from the company, said even if some lines return to service, “disruption will last for most of today [at the] very least”.
The cable damage was caused at about 22:00 BST on Tuesday by a high-speed class 802 Hitachi train which was being tested between London and Bristol.
The train, which was empty at the time, ripped into the overhead wires, bringing them down.
A Hitachi spokesperson said that “after years of successful testing on the route” it was holding “a full and thorough investigation” to identify the cause of the damage.
According to BBC South’s transport correspondent Paul Clifton, although GWR planned to use the trains in future, it was not responsible for the test.
The fault comes weeks after hundreds of passengers were stranded for six hours in September when a similar train built by Hitachi for GWR broke down just north of Exeter.
GWR said the incidents were unrelated.
It added: “Owing to the extent of the damage, no trains are expected to be able to operate between London Paddington and Hayes & Harlington in either direction for much of Wednesday.”
“As a result, GWR, TfL Rail and Heathrow Express will not be operating a train service between London Paddington, Hayes & Harlington or Slough until such time as repairs have been completed.”
South Western Railway warned customers their trains into London would be “very busy” as a result of more people using their services.
Waterloo Tube station also had to be closed temporarily due to overcrowding.
Commuters at Reading station described the “wall of passengers” trying to board alternative trains to London.
Passenger, Andy Moisey said on Twitter: “I have just arrived at Reading from Wokingham trying to get my connection to Basingstoke to be met with and wall of passengers.
“It’s carnage with no-one informing passengers that arrive to change at Reading.”
Another Twitter user “welcomed” the bus replacement service because it brought a “surprise of nostalgia”.