Mourners resort to watching Queen’s funeral on phones due to rail disruption

·3-min read
GWR services have been bit by delays (Andrew Matthews/PA) (PA Archive)
GWR services have been bit by delays (Andrew Matthews/PA) (PA Archive)

Mourners travelling to London for the Queen’s funeral resorted to watching proceedings on their mobiles due to railway disruption.

No trains could enter or leave Paddington station, west London, from 6.30am because of damage to overhead electric wires near Hayes and Harlington station.

Services run by GWR, Heathrow Express and the Elizabeth line are expected to be disrupted for the rest of the day.

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” about missing 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.

“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 which departed Paddington at 6.25am was been stuck outside the station for more than two-and-a-half hours with passengers on board.

People who planned to travel to Paddington were advised to take a South Western Railway train from Reading to Waterloo instead.

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

Mourners travelling to the 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 reported that there were no major 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 electric wires damage.

Transport for London recorded 2.08 million Tube journeys on Sunday.

That was up 16% on the same day a week earlier and was slightly above pre-coronavirus levels.

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.