Rachel Riley and James Blunt among Elizabeth Line passengers stuck for hours after electrical cables damaged

8 December 2023, 06:24

Rachel Riley was caught up in the Elizabeth Line disruption
Rachel Riley was caught up in the Elizabeth Line disruption. Picture: Alamy/Instagram

By Will Taylor

Celebrities Rachel Riley and James Blunt were caught up in major disruption amid electrical problems on the rail line out of Paddington as the Elizabeth Line grounded to a halt.

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Trains did not call at stations between London Paddington, and Heathrow and Reading on Thursday evening - causing problems for thousands of people trying to get to the airport.

The problem stemmed from damage to the electrical cables above the lines in Ladbroke Grove in west London.

Passengers on multiple trains said on Thursday evening that they had been left in the freezing cold and darkness for around two hours amid the disruption. Reports emerged of others climbing out onto the tracks as they waited to be evacuated. They were later let out.

Celebrities including musician James Blunt and TV presenter Rachel Riley were among those affected by the disruption. Blunt posted on X: "Been stuck somewhere outside Paddington for close to 4 hours now. Out of peanuts and wine. Can someone please contact @Dominos_UK. This is an emergency."

Riley wrote: "Nearly 4 hours after we got on, we're getting off the Elizabeth line, woohoo!"

Another passenger said: "Been stuck on the Elizabeth line for over 1.5 hours between Paddington and Acton main line.

"The carriages have now lost power, and it seems we may be walking home…"

Another passenger added: "The Elizabeth Line has failed again just when passengers needed it most. At Paddington there were old folk, people with babies with absolutely no way of getting home. 

"It was like the Fall of Saigon, except in that case some lucky people actually managed to get on the helicopter."

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A Network Rail spokesperson said: “We’re sorry to passengers delayed after a fault with the overhead cables powering trains in the Ladbroke Grove area. 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.”

National Rail said in a statement on its website that there is "damage to the overhead electric wires between London Paddington and Acton Main Line", which "means that all lines are blocked".

Transport secretary Mark Harper said on X, formerly known as Twitter: "Aware of a serious incident involving overhead wires outside Paddington, with a number of trains stationary on the tracks."