Rush-hour chaos at Paddington as passengers ‘stuck on Elizabeth line for more than an hour’
Rush-hour passengers reported being trapped on Elizabeth line for more than an hour on Tuesday when a broken-down train caused chaos at Paddington.
One of the £1bn fleet of trains is thought to have got stuck in the £20bn line’s central section, between Paddington and Abbey Wood – causing a massive knock-on impact on the western section of the route.
Some passengers reported being stuck on a train outside Paddington for 75 minutes. The delay was so long that one passenger apparently had to urinate on board – though there were no toilets on the trains.
#ElizabethLine so delayed today coming into paddington. A passenger actually having a pee ( behind a towel )on the train
— Dhanupriya Sivapathasuntharam (@DhanupriyaSiva) May 16, 2023
One mother, Hannah Beckerman, said her husband and 10-year-old daughter were stuck onboard a train in a tunnel for 75 minutes with no announcements.
She tweeted: “It’s utterly disgraceful and Londoners need to know what is being done to improve it.”
@TfL @SadiqKhan Husband & 10 yr old daughter stuck in a tunnel outside Paddington for 75 minutes (standing up, no seats) with not a SINGLE announcement as to what was happening. It's utterly disgraceful and Londoners need to know what is being done to improve it. #ElizabethLine
— Hannah Beckerman (@hannahbeckerman) May 16, 2023
National Rail inquiries said the problem was affecting all rail lines in and out of Paddington, meaning there were also problems with the Heathrow Express and Greater Western Railway services. It said problems were expected to continue until at least 10am.
left at 6-30, got train/tube, changed at tottenham court road, sat in a tunnel outside paddington for 42 minutes, missed presentation, let everybody down, cheers, elizabeth line is the worst
— Michael Franchetti (@Franchettiboy) May 16, 2023
@ElizabethLn_Bot Thanks to the lovely driver of the 7.34am from Hanwell this morning . Not his fault that we’re stuck; he’s been patient, calm & communicated with - even having to walk through the train twice to reverse it and then head towards Paddington.
— Ellie Mc (@stargazingone) May 16, 2023
@TfL 8am today Paddington Elizabeth line was made exit only due to a broken down train.
No staff were stopping people entering and the barriers were closed. Extremely dangerous situation in rush hour. Luckily @nationalrailenq staff knew what they were doing!
— Justin Pawley (@Juptin) May 16, 2023
It comes ahead of the final stage in the opening of the Elizabeth line in five days. On Sunday May 21, peak hour train frequencies in central London are due to increase from 22 to 24 trains an hour, along with the first direct trains between Shenfield and Heathrow.
As part of the changes, the software that allows the trains to communicate with the three signalling systems on the line has been upgraded.
But Transport for London has long been concerned at the lack of reliability on the tracks use by the Elizabeth line west of Paddington, which are controlled by Network Rail.
A Transport for London spokesman said at 9.30am that the broken train - which had stopped at the Elizabeth line platform - had been moved and that services would gradually return to normal.
Elizabeth line passengers face further problems on May 24, when a strike by TSSA line managers in pay battle is likely to force the central section to close - on what will be the first anniversary of the line’s opening.