A Network Rail manager has resigned after passengers were left stranded for more than three hours near London Paddington earlier this month.
Michelle Handforth, managing director for the Wales and Western region – which includes Paddington – has stepped down, Network Rail has confirmed.
Hundreds of people including celebrities were stuck in cold, dark carriages after an overhead cable fault caused all trains to come to a standstill on December 7.
Pictures and videos shared on social media showed commuters sat in dimly lit carriages before they were eventually evacuated.
National Rail, Elizabeth Line and Heathrow Express services were all disrupted and some passengers said they heard no information from rail operators and were unable to go to the toilet.
Celebrities including musician James Blunt and TV presenter Rachel Riley were affected by the disruption.
Blunt posted on X, formerly Twitter: “Been stuck somewhere outside Paddington for close to 4 hours now. Out of peanuts and wine”, while Riley wrote: “Nearly 4 hours after we got on, we’re getting off the Elizabeth line, woohoo!”
It came after multiple system faults and damaged rails led to repeated delays in the weeks before the incident.
Commuter Mikey Worrall told the PA news agency at the time that the evening was the “most surreal” of his life.
He described the train lurching to a stop and then a multiple-hour wait in semi-darkness as the driver drip-fed what little information they had through to passengers.
Eventually, the battery backup running the train’s heating and light services ran out and passengers were left in darkness for another hour and a half until the evacuation.
Mr Worrall said: “We saw a couple of workers come past and they were trying to keep everyone calm.
“Suddenly, we saw a stream of people coming down the track and at that point it was clear that we would be getting off.
“It was really eerie, walking down the railway line in amongst this big crowd of people. It felt like a wartime thing.”
On why the line broke down, Mr Worrall added: “Every day it’s a different excuse.
“It seems to me they opened this whole thing without actually being fit for purpose.
“If they knew there were infrastructure issues that they needed to work on, why didn’t they work on those before?
“They opened the line and it doesn’t work.
“It (goes down) multiple times a week and it’s incredibly frustrating. The Mayor of London needs to sort it out.”
Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines said: “I would like to thank Michelle for her hard work and support over these past three-and-a-half years.”
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