UK: Commuter Train Hit by Live Cables in Staffordshire

An overhead cable carrying 25,000 volts of current fell down and struck a train packed with commuters near Penkridge.

At around 8.30 am on Tuesday a service bound for Wolverhampton was plunged into darkness and passengers had to wait for two hours to be evacuated when the live wires became detached.

Passengers on-board reported a "large pink flash" followed by a "clattering sound" and had to spend around two hours on the train with no power before being evacuated to waiting buses.

It has since emerged that Network Rail had been carrying out repair work to the cables the previous evening and the train was the first to pass through the area after the work was completed.

A Network Rail spokesman said yesterday: "Unfortunately, the first train through the area brought them down again, but this time caused extensive damage. Over a mile of cables was brought down and a large amount of the equipment they are connected to was also severely damaged.

"As a result, there have been virtually no trains between Wolverhampton and Stafford for the best part of 36 hours - if you count it as one continuous incident.

"At this stage we have not established a cause for the two incidents as we have been concentrating on getting the repairs completed and services running again.

We will have a thorough technical investigation to find out what cased the trouble in an effort to prevent it happening again." Commuters travelling out of Stafford faced cancellations from Monday evening until Wednesday morning when the lines between Stafford and Wolverhampton reopened.

The incident also caused chaos on the wider train network - with Cross Country services between Manchester Piccadilly and New Street affected as well as delays on London Midland and Virgin services.

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