Swan halts Elizabeth Line trains as angry passengers blast ‘shambles’

Some stressed passengers missed flights, while others joked about “cygnet failure” after the driver’s announcement that the baby bird was blocking part of the route.

Specialist teams struggled to shoo away the swan just outside Paddington station with passengers reporting the bird kept on moving back to the middle of the tracks.

Passengers reported being held on trains – which do not have toilets – for up to an hour due to a swan on the tracks at Paddington.

Read More

Kat Stevens, 55, missed her flight home to Belfast as she struggled to get out of Canary Wharf.

She said: “I sat on the train for just over an hour.

“The PA announcement was saying there was an animal on the line outside Paddington. Then a chap came walking through the train to tell us to make other plans. He said it was a swan and they were waiting for a special team to help it.”

Describing the delays as a “quintessential British experience” she added: “We sat for an hour without moving then I had to find another way to Heathrow. I travel to London for business and was able to change the British Airways flight with ease.”

Fellow passenger Canadian tourist Brianna Ludlow, 25, said: “It was relatively normal and quiet on board at least before I got off, people just seemed to chuckle at the announcement that there was a swan on the line.

“For sure I hope the swan is ok. I’m just visiting from Canada so this is definitely way less of an annoyance for me than the locals, more just a funny little thing that happened and a funny story for later.”

One Twitter user joked: “On the Elizabeth Line heading from Reading to Liverpool Street and there’s a baby swan on the track causing delays. Driver says it’s due to cygnet failure.”

Another said he was desperate to go to the toilet, before adding: “They have already moved [the swan] once and now it has come back and sat in the middle of the tracks again.”

Another posted: “You are an absolute shambles @TfL. I cannot believe you closed the entire Elizabeth line for a swan on the tracks.

“Has nobody been on the shooing course. How hard is it to move a swan?”

Transport for London’s (TfL) website stated there are no services between Heathrow Airport in west London and Abbey Wood in south-east London – via the centre of the capital – due to “an obstruction on the track”.

It added that there are “severe delays” on the rest of the line.

The incident was first reported at 12.56pm on Thursday – with services still being reported as suspended as the evening rush-hour got under way. However it appeared that trains were back up and running shortly after 5pm, according to the TfL website, albeit still severely delayed.

National Rail Enquiries said there are “animals on the railway”.

The Elizabeth line stretches from Reading in Berkshire and Heathrow Airport to Shenfield in Essex and Abbey Wood.

It opened in May 2022 at an estimated cost of £18.9 billion.


Recommended For You