Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rail Chaos as Bullet Train Blunder Hits Power into Paddington; Knock-On Delays Expected All Day

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rail Chaos as Bullet Train Blunder Hits Power into Paddington; Knock-On Delays Expected All Day

Article excerpt

Byline: Dick Murray, Ben Morgan and Ross Lydall

A NEW PS16 million "bullet" train on a test run caused commuter mayhem after wrecking 500 metres of overhead power cables on the approach to Paddington station.

The rail hub was almost entirely closed this morning with no services to or from Heathrow and Reading until lunchtime and knock-on delays expected for the rest of the day.

Staff from Great Western Railway wheeled a trolley onto the Paddington concourse at 8.30am to give free tea, coffee and biscuits to frustrated commuters.

Heathrow Express and TfL Rail services were also halted for much of the day, with unrelated delays on Tube lines compounding difficulties for travellers.

The incident happened at Hanwell at about 10pm last night. The Italian-built Hitachi train -- capable of 140mph -- was being used to train GWR drivers when its pantograph arm, which connects carriages to overhead power cables, got caught in the wires.

It left seven services on the line stuck for several hours. One train derailed after becoming snagged in fallen power lines. Emergency services were called to rescue scores of stranded passengers. Sandeep Continued on Page 9 Continued from Page 1 Ahluwalia, 28, was among dozens of passengers stuck on a train for almost four hours. "Police boarded to check on people," the advertising director from Hayes said.

"There were two health scares. The driver had to rush to the back of the train where a guy in his thirties was distressed and was sweating.

"A few hours later an older man was rushed out too and he was covered in sweat. They were asking about a defibrillator. After more than three hours another train pulled alongside and it took another hour for people to transfer one by one to the new train.

"When we finally got to Paddington there was no information. We were told to get a free taxi but it was so disorganised."

Passenger Param Dhaliwal tweeted: "No lights, air conditioning, toilet facilities or updates! …

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