Power outrage! #2

Power outrage! #2

This second part covers mainly tweets etc that highlight passengers’ (or customers if one prefers) experiences and escapades during this significant Thameslink power outage which resulted in a considerable number of its trains trying to reboot without success. This left many trains marooned up and down the Thameslink network north of the river.

Kings Cross at about 8.20pm. Source: Twitter

In desperation by about 7pm it seems Thameslink decided to employ a set of rescue units to retrieve some of their stricken trains and tow these errant units off the main line back to their depots, or into sidings, in order to clear the tracks for LNER’s trains which were of course going nowhere.

The tweet below showing rescue units at Radlett may have been the rescue units mentioned in the above tweet thread by Dayna McAlpine.

In due course LNER was warning passengers its trains shouldnt be used at all for the remainder of Friday 9th August. The first train out of King’s Cross, possibly around 9.50pm and it seems for Peterborough, was put on unannounced yet it was crammed full, and only a small number of further trains were able to depart from the Cross that evening.

Thameslink evacuation. Source: Twitter

The same evacuation shown in a video. It seems this may have been either somewhere near Harpenden or north of Luton.

UPDATE 16 August: I found a tweet (show below) which says the location is Radlett.

Its obvious they escaped from a Thameslink train walked the tracks for a good number of minutes, traipsed along a dirt road and eventually arrived at this main road somewhere in Hertfordshire.

The road is in fact near Radlett according to other tweets above. The train was the 16.36 from St. Pancras.

At about this time people on other Thameslink trains were being evacuated via ladders onto the tracks. The following tweet (and its thread) shows a sequence of videos of this operation in progress…

Over three hours in the dark and its only just after nine pm. Source: Twitter

Some people complained of spending several hours on trains in the dark. However as the following tweet shows, some trains were fortunately not in the dark for such a length of time…

Its nearly 10pm and people are still stuck, its said they’re pissing out of the driver’s door because there are no toilets. This means the unfortunate passengers were on a Class 717.

GTR’s Chief Operating Officer Steve White was caught up in the debacle. He wasn’t saying much about the matter however one astute passenger recognised him because he was on their stricken train…

And this was Steve’s one response…

There are not many pictures of the stricken LNER trains – but this one was clearly stuck for over four hours at Welwyn North station…

Source: Twitter. (Note: Tweet was deleted thus a screencap has been used.)

This guy sounded quite desperate to get off his train…

At least some were lucky to get off their trains for a while and watch the footie at Elstree… before being rescued by an East Midlands train!

Source: Twitter. (Note: Tweet was deleted or account restricted thus an archived image has been used.)

Some trains in the front of the queue simply don’t have the benefit of being first come first served. Their being on the wrong section of track means they have to reverse and then switch tracks in order to gain an unobstructed track routeing onward. What it means essentially is the first trains into a major disruption are often the last to get out of these situations.

The next tweet shows how some train staff were able to keep in the spirit of things and help to keep the passengers’ chins up – it must have been incredibly hard given the circumstances but at times like this staff who go well above and beyond their duties are indeed a blessing.

Its the only jovial video I can find of staff during this very difficult evening on the railways.

About this time the passengers on the 4.15pm from Leeds were arriving at King’s Cross….

Arriving at King’s Cross from Leeds – just under sixty minutes before the appointed hour… Source: Twitter (Note: Tweet was deleted or account restricted thus an archived image has been used.)

The last train to arrive in King’s Cross was the 09.52 from Aberdeen, which arrived at the Cross 01.07am according to Realtime Trains. A delay of eight hours and fifteen minutes! It had spent most of that time stuck somewhere around Hatfield whilst Thameslink attempted to shift a number of its stricken, non-rebooted, class 700 stock off the main line.

There were also problems on other lines and stations however I decided to focus primarily on the King’s Cross routes (and in part the St Pancras route too) because this is where the Class 700s/717s were affecting so many other trains and invariably several thousand people’s journeys.

People of course wanted to know what was up with the Class 700s and 717s, but Thameslink (and presumably Great Northern) were not wanting to saying very much…

There was this pretty useful post at District Daves which described the situation with the Class 700s/717s. Apparently the trains tried to reboot when the line power was still off, and because they couldn’t detect any voltage in the overhead wires, they simply shut down completely.

One thing from this episode is clear. These new Desiro trains came absolutely crimped in terms of capability. The event showed up these trains’ faults and it is a surprise despite all the months of testing, and the delays in to service, this one problem was not identified.