London trains see power cut as thousands stranded in dark for hours

London trains see power cut as thousands stranded in dark for hours

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Thousands of passengers were left trapped inside packed trains for hours on end in London after a huge power outage.

Celebrities like James Blunt were among the stranded commuters as the rail network descended into complete chaos in the capital on Thursday evening.

Some frustrated travellers even smashed their way out the cold, dark trains and walked down the tracks to escape after getting stuck for more than three hours.

Trains stopped running between London Paddington and Heathrow Airport in the rush hour after damage to overhead cables, shutting down the £19billion Elizabeth Line and causing major disruption to National Rail and Heathrow Express services.

And Friday commuters are also facing further delays until at least 7pm on Friday due to the knock-on effect and train strikes.

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‘We are so sorry for the difficult journeys passengers endured on our railway last night and we will be investigating how and why it happened,’ a Network Rail spokesman said.

Some passengers forced their way off the trans and walked along the tracks after getting stuck for more than three hours (Picture: X/Elinor Hughes/Emily Boult)

Some passengers forced their way off the trans and walked along the tracks after getting stuck for more than three hours (Picture: X/Elinor Hughes/Emily Boult)

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‘The knock-on effects from last night mean operators will not be able to run a full service from Paddington today and passengers should check before they travel.

‘Repairs are ongoing and we hope to have the railway fully open by the weekend.’

Singer James Blunt and TV star Rachel Riley were caught up in the carnage as many also reported being unable to go to toilet.

‘Been stuck somewhere outside Paddington for close to 4 hours now,’ Blunt said on X, formerly Twitter. ‘Out of peanuts and wine.’

Meanwhile Riley wrote: ‘Nearly 4 hours after we got on, we’re getting off the Elizabeth line, woohoo!’

One passenger said: ‘That’s crazy. We have been in Elizabeth line for more than two hours. Power off. All dark. I got a newborn with me. A lady fainted.

‘We’re on the way to airport to go back home for Christmas. Missing a flight first time in my lifetime.’

Commuter Mikey Worrall said the debacle was the ‘most surreal evening of his life’ and compared the evacuation to something that ‘felt like a wartime thing’.

He described the train as lurching to a stop and then a long, multiple-hour wait in semi-darkness as the driver drip-fed what little information they had through to passengers.

Hundreds of people were pictured walking down the tracks to escape the london train breakdown

Hundreds of people were pictured walking down the tracks to escape (Picture: Emma Bentley)

Eventually, the battery backup running the train’s heating and light services ran out, and passengers were left in darkness for another hour-and-a-half until the evacuation came.

Mr Worrall said: ‘We saw a couple of workers come past, and they were trying to keep everyone calm.

‘Suddenly, we saw a stream of people coming down the track, and at that point, it was clear that we would be getting off.

‘It was really eerie walking down the railway line in amongst this big crowd of people. It felt like a wartime thing.’

People stuck on the Elizabeth Line in the dark. during london train breakdown

Cold and dark trains were rammed in the rush hour and people were stuck for hours (Picture: Emily Boult)

As to why the line broke down, Mr Worrall said: ‘Every day, it’s a different excuse. It seems to me they opened this whole thing without actually being fit for purpose.

‘If they knew there were infrastructure issues that they needed to work on, why didn’t they work on those before? They opened the line and it doesn’t work.

‘It (goes down) multiple times a week, and it’s incredibly frustrating.’

He added: ‘The mayor of London needs to sort it out.’

Passengers getting off the Elizabeth Line train

The Elizabeth Line completely shut down and passengers were forced to evacuate along the railway lines

Comedian Paul Chowdhry also said on X: ‘My friend has been stuck on the Elizabeth Line for almost 3 hours.

‘People are using train tracks as toilets, with some even using their seats. And he just became a British citizen after immigrating from Bangladesh.

‘Welcome to England, mate.’

Emma Bentley said she was stranded for three hours before she was finally evacuated along with many other.

Why did London trains break down?

A Network Rail spokesperson said the overhead cables affected were in the Ladbroke Grove area.

The spokesperson said at the time: ‘We’ve had to stop all services while our engineers work as fast as they can to fix the issue. Our teams are also working with train operators to assist people on the trains affected.

‘We’d urge people onboard to follow all the advice from staff while this incident is ongoing.

‘Anyone planning travel tonight should check National Rail Enquiries for the latest on the disruption.’

People jumping off a broken down train.

People jumped off the trains and onto the tracks (Picture: Emma Bentley)

A TfL spokesperson said: ‘We’re sorry that the damage caused to Network Rail’s overhead power lines by another rail operator’s train has caused significant disruption to our Elizabeth line customers as well as all train operators out of London Paddington.

‘We’re working together with response teams across partners to recover trains and get everyone home as quickly as we can.

‘Network Rail are working urgently to repair the power lines and we’d encourage all customers to check before they travel over the next few days while they do this.’

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