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Passengers face rush hour chaos on First Capital Connect trains after snapped power cable at Radlett
12:03pm Thursday 14th February 2013 in News
Thousands of commuters faced a “manic” rush hour as engineers worked to fix a snapped power cable at Radlett.
The overhead power line broke when it was pulled down by a train at Radlett on Wednesday, causing cancellations on the Luton to St Pancras route.
Engineers were still working to repair the break yesterday morning, so services along the line were still running with major delays.
Police were forced to abandon their journeys to work after stations on the line, including Borehamwood, Hendon and Mill Hill, were “heaving with people.”
First Capital Connect said services should only be delayed by 30 minutes, but angry commuters said trains were only running every hour.
Isaac Abraham, who works as an IT consultant in Piccadilly, said there was a “complete lack of communication” between station staff and passengers.
The 33-year-old said: “Nobody seemed to know what was going on and that was the biggest issue. We were not kept informed.
“I got to Elstree & Borehamwood station at around 8.40am, but there had not been a train since 7.40am. It was crazy and there were so many people on the platform.
“Nobody had any idea when the next train might be so I gave up because trying to get to work through that looked too stressful.
“There were replacement buses to Edgware, but I knew it would take over an hour to get there in the rush hour traffic.”
Journalist Attracta Mooney told the Borehamwood & Elstree Times: “The information on the website was wrong. I looked online and it said trains were running through St Albans to London.
“When I got to the station, staff said there were no trains running south. FCC’s Twitter account was telling people to look online for up to date information.
“It is utterly frustrating to be told the website had up to date information when it did not.”
It took the journalist two hours to get to work in Farringdon, instead of the usual 25 minutes.
People also took to Twitter to complain about the lack of staff and information at Elstree & Borehamwood station.
Craig Melson wrote: “Where are they (staff) in Elstree and Borehamwood? Unacceptable control ahead of people. No staff or info.”
Fights also reportedly broke out at stations as customers scrambled to get on to the packed trains.
Matthew Davies tweeted: “Fights breaking out on trains. I guess I’d be pretty p***** if I had to stand and wait for a train I couldn’t get on.”
After the power cable was struck yesterday, engineers spent the afternoon freeing people from trains that had become stuck down the line.
Martin Stewart, who was heading to London to visit an art gallery yesterday morning, said: “There were loud bang and sparks and then we rolled to a stop.
“We had to wait about two hours on a train, which was getting colder and colder. At 1pm we were evacuated, we had to climb down a wooden ladder.”
A statement from Network Rail said it would be running a “slightly reduced” service for the rest of the day.
It added: “Two of the four lines were open from the start of service today, with four lines open by 9am.
“Electric trains are only able to run on two lines and final repair works will be carried out tonight.”