Inter-city trains on the West Coast main line south of Preston were disrupted for around five hours today after overhead cables were damaged by . . . an owl.
Passengers at Preston reported “pretty chaotic” scenes as services were either delayed or diverted as staff from Network Rail worked to reconnect the power.
The incident, which affected dozens of services and thousands of travellers, happened at around lunchtime at Euxton Junction near Chorley.
A Network Rail spokesman explained: “It appears an owl has flown into the lines and damaged them, affecting services in both directions.
“It looks as though the owl has hit one of the cables and snapped it, causing it to fall onto the track.
“Obviously that is a very dangerous thing to happen and workmen have been repairing it.
“Diesel traffic was allowed to use a section of the track, but there have been no electric services since around 12.15 and it doesn’t look like it will be back to normal until after five o’clock.”
One disgruntled passenger, stuck at Preston Station, said: “People trying to get to London are having to go via Manchester.
“There are no electric trains in or out of the station to or from the south. It’s pretty chaotic.”