Mourners watch queen’s funeral on phones due to rail disruption

London, Sept 19, (PA Media/dpa/GNA) – Mourners travelling to London for Queen Elizabeth’s funeral, resorted to watching proceedings on their mobiles, due to railway disruption.

No trains could enter or leave Paddington station, west London, from 6:30 am (0530 GMT), because of damage to overhead electric wires near Hayes and Harlington station.

Services run by GWR, Heathrow Express and the Elizabeth line, are expected to be disrupted for the rest of the day.

Many affected passengers planned to be in London for the start of the day’s events but were delayed for several hours.

The sound of the choir at Westminster Abbey echoed through the carriages of delayed trains, as mourners watched the service on their smartphones.

Bev Palfreman said she was “absolutely gutted” about missing the start of the funeral.

The 61-year-old from Oakhampton, Devon, said, “the queen has just been there throughout the whole of my life. This was the only thing I wanted to do.”

Gaby Thomas, 29, who travelled from Castle Cary, Somerset, with her father, said, “my dad is a former naval officer, and he wanted to see the procession and the military involved.

“It’s just about being there. We were meant to arrive in Paddington at about 8:30 am. We are still hoping to catch the end of the procession.

“It’s a typical British thing to happen.”

Passengers on a GWR train were told by a member of staff using the public address system: “My sincerest apologies for the delays on such an important day for the country.”

A train which departed Paddington at 6:25 am has been stuck outside the station for more than two-and-a-half hours with passengers on board.

GWR told concerned customers, that the train is “due to be evacuated.”

People who planned to travel to Paddington, are being advised to take a South Western Railway train from Reading to Waterloo instead.

Mourners, travelling to the funeral events in Windsor from Paddington are also affected.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “We are very sorry for the disruption which we expect to continue throughout the day.

“We are working hard to get services running as soon as possible and passengers are strongly advised to check before they travel.

“We will continue to update passengers as the situation develops.”

Rail lines between Reading and Newbury were earlier closed due to a person being hit by a train.

This caused GWR trains to be diverted, delaying more journeys to the capital.

The issues came during one of Britain’s biggest transport operations, as mourners descended on London and Windsor.

Around 250 extra train services were planned for Monday.

They included a 3 am departure from Penzance, Cornwall, for Paddington, which left with no passengers, according to the news website CornwallLive.

The service only ran as far as Reading due to the damage to the electric wire.

Transport for London recorded 2.08 million Tube journeys on Sunday.

That was up 16% on the same day a week earlier and was slightly above pre-coronavirus levels.

Passengers in London are being urged to delay journeys home, due to fears of overcrowding if too many people try to travel immediately after the funeral procession leaves Westminster.