More rail chaos for London commuters as overhead line damage closes host of key routes

  • Commuters have reported chaotic scenes at Kings Cross station this evening
  • Damage to overhead wires forced multiple cancellations at the London terminus
  • There has been severe disruption on services into Paddington for a second day
  • Trains after 10pm have been cancelled at the station to allow for repair work
  • The Queen’s funeral: All the latest Royal Family news and coverage

Travellers trying to get in and out of London are tonight facing severe disruption as services from two of the capital’s busiest railway stations have been cancelled.

Damage to overhead wires at Stevenage means multiple trains in and out of Kings Cross have been cancelled this evening, causing ‘chaos’ at one of the main gateway’s to northern England.

The disruption on the line, which runs services by London North Eastern Railway (LNER), Great Northern, Thameslink and Hull Trains, led to angry scenes at Finsbury Park after passengers were left stranded.

Meanwhile, there has also been severe disruption at Paddington, just a day after tens of thousands of mourners trying to leave after the Queen’s funeral saw 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.

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

Train information boards at Kings Cross station tonight showed no services were leaving the terminus

Crowds gathered on the platforms at Finsbury Park station (pictured) as services were cancelled during rush hour

Many passengers were left scrambling to find alternate routes home after damage to overhead wires in Stevenage forced the line to be closed. Pictured: Travellers at Finsbury Park station tonight

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

The travel chaos today comes as London and the rest of the country tries 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 greater than normal passenger numbers as millions descended on London to watch.

However, it wasn’t to be smooth running today, after two separate incidents involving damage to overhead wires saw a raft of cancellations.

Damage at Stevenage has meant that people travelling through Kings Cross and Finsbury Park have been forced to deal with severe disruption during rush hour.

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

Further up the line at Finsbury Park, platforms became crowded with people as passengers were left facing severe delays and having to make alternate arrangements to get home.

On social media commuters reported seeing people ‘in tears’ and described 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 the overhead wires at Stevenage earlier today. 

‘Trains running through this station may still be cancelled or severely delayed.

‘Major disruption is expected until the end of the day.’

It added: ‘At this time, Great Northern and Thameslink ask that you consider seeking out your own personal travel arrangements. If you do travel, your journey time will be greatly extended. 

‘We are working to reintroduce services through the area, but the number of trains and crew impacted by this incident means this will be drawn out process.’

There are also severe delays at Paddington tonight after two miles of overhead wiring was damaged near Hayes and Harlington at 6.30am yesterday.

PA News Agency reports that the damage is thought to have taken place after a number of trains became entangled.

It caused the cancellation of every train between Reading and Paddington, leading to chaotic scenes at Waterloo as tens of thousands of mourners from the Queen’s funeral attempted to find alternate routes out of the capital.  

Services from the station to destinations in the West of England and South Wales have been running today, but at greatly reduced levels, leading to delays and some cancellations.

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

Trains due to leave Paddington after 10pm tonight have been cancelled in a bid to allow workers to try and completely repair the damaged wires, although Great Western Railway has warned more disruption is expected tomorrow.

There were chaotic scenes at Reading station (pictured) last night as all trains in and out of Paddington were cancelled

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

There will be no GWR and Heathrow Express services in and out of London Paddington until 6am on Wednesday, while National Rail is advising passengers to use alternative routes to reach their destinations.

On its website Great Western Railway GWR said: ‘Due to damage to the overhead electric wires between Slough and London Paddington fewer trains are able to run on all lines.

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

‘Delays and short-notice cancellations are expected for the remainder of the day. 

‘Network Rail engineers will undertake further repair work tonight. 

‘This means GWR will not be able to run services into or out of London Paddington from 2200 this evening until 0600 tomorrow (Wednesday 21 September). Services will start and finish at Reading instead. 

‘The last departing train from London Paddington – Tuesday 20th September 2022, will be 21:48 London Paddington to Swansea. 

‘The last arriving train into London Paddington – Tuesday 20th September 2022, will be the 20:00 Bristol Temple Meads to London Paddington (Arriving at 21:34).’ 

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