Mourners face travel chaos as London trains grind to a halt

·3-min read
(Margaret Davis/PA) (PA Wire)
(Margaret Davis/PA) (PA Wire)

Mourners who travelled to London for the Queen’s funeral face more travel chaos as trains from a major station continues to be disrupted.

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.

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

An Elizabeth line train at a standstill outside Royal Oak station (Alan Hamilton/PA) (PA Wire)
An Elizabeth line train at a standstill outside Royal Oak station (Alan Hamilton/PA) (PA Wire)

Many affected passengers planned to be in London for the start of the day’s events but were delayed for several hours.

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 a typical British thing to happen

Gaby Thomas

“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.

“It’s a typical British thing to happen.”

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.

People who planned to travel to and from Paddington have been advised to travel via Waterloo and Reading instead.

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.

Mourners travelling to funeral events in Windsor from Paddington were also affected.

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.

Passenger numbers were around 50% down compared with the same day last week due to the lack of commuters.

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.

Passengers in London were urged to delay journeys home due to fears of overcrowding if too many people tried to travel immediately after the funeral procession leaves Westminster.

National Highways lifted roadworks and suspended planned motorway closures across England.

But many local roads were closed in central London, leading to bus diversions and no coach services to or from Victoria.