Christmas Getaway

December 21, 2012 by  

Christmas Getaway, Passengers travelling to and from London’s Paddington station have been hit by delays and cancellations.

Heathrow Connect and Heathrow Express services to the airport were suspended while many First Great Western services have been cancelled or delayed.

A fire near Acton, west London, on Thursday damaged line-side equipment, closing two of the four lines.

Friday was due to be the busiest day of the year for road, rail and air travel as people begin their festive getaway.

Tube delays
According to Network Rail, a fire in an equipment room next to the track in west London on Thursday morning meant only two of the four lines were operating on Friday morning.

Network Rail said the fire damage was so extensive it has had to rebuild the equipment room from the ground up but it said it soon hoped to have all lines reopened.

First Great Western spokesman James Davis said: “We have reduced the number of services by about half and trains are running with about a 20-30 minute delay as they have to slow down near Slough and Southall.

“Network Rail has told us the problem will be fixed by about 15:00 GMT and while all four lines may reopen, due to trains being in the wrong place things will not return to normal for some time.”

During the morning the reduced service put extra pressure on the Tube network.

There were severe delays on the Bakerloo line and minor delays on the Jubilee line due to a signalling systems failure.

‘Cause mayhem’
BBC News website reporter Jane Mower travelled to Paddington from Maidenhead.

Heathrow Connect and Heathrow Express services were suspended
She said: “It took me almost two hours longer than normal to get home last night and train staff were telling us then that the problem would continue into today.

“When I arrived at Maidenhead this morning several trains had been cancelled in both directions and others were delayed and we only had to pay off-peak ticket prices.

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