Hundreds of passengers rescued by taxi after OLE damage

GWR advised passengers not to try to travel between London Paddington and Reading until midday at least, because overhead lines were damaged outside Paddington at about 18.30 last night, stranding about 900 passengers on one intercity train after the overhead had become wrapped around it.

A fleet of hundreds of taxis was used to rescue them during the evening, but there were further problems because passengers on some trains had jumped down on to the track, effectively blocking the lines until they could be removed by British Transport Police.

National Rail said a train had collided with an ‘obstruction’ between London Paddington and Acton Main Line, damaging the overhead.

There is also more disruption further west, because floods have blocked the main line between Plymouth and Totnes.

Network Rail engineers have been working to repair the damaged overhead at Paddington, and National Rail reports that the Paddington lines have now been reopened to traffic, but services will continue to be delayed and in some cases cancelled until later today. Passengers travelling to Paddington may have to change trains at Reading.

The line will probably not be reopened between Totnes and Plymouth until the end of the day. Trains are continuing to run on Cornish lines as far as Plymouth, and between Exeter and London Paddington, while a limited service is being provided between Exeter St Davids and Totnes.

GWR customer service and operations director Richard Rowland said: ‘We’re really sorry for customers whose journeys have been disrupted following damage to overhead wires just outside London Paddington last night. 

‘For the safety of passengers all trains were stopped following the incident. Unfortunately, this disruption continues this morning.’