Security alert brings rush hour chaos

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The Independent Online

Tens of thousands of commuters were delayed this morning as a security alert brought chaos to rail travellers in and out of London.

Tens of thousands of commuters were delayed this morning as a security alert brought chaos to rail travellers in and out of London.

Commuter trains and services to and from the west of England, South Wales and the Heathrow Express were hit by the rush-hour alert which centred on a rail bridge at Twyford Avenue in Acton, west London.

Services to and from Paddington Station were effectively halted while the busy Piccadilly, Central and District Tube lines in the area were also hit.

Railtrack said it had been asked to suspend services in the alert area at around 6.25am.

London-bound Great Western passengers had to take South West Trains services from Reading into London's Waterloo station, while Heathrow Express services were suspended.

Passengers trying to get to Heathrow airport were further affected by suspension of the Piccadilly Tube line between Acton Town and Rayners Lane, west London.

There were no District line services between Acton Town and Ealing Broadway and no services on the Central line between North Acton and Ealing Broadway.

Police confirmed that they had received a threat involving security at Ealing Broadway station earlier today.

Sources indicated that although it was being taken seriously there was no cause for panic.

A British Transport Police spokesman said the alert had caused major disruption for commuters, especially those travelling in and out of Paddington main line station. The disruption was expected to last for the next two to three hours.

A spokesman for First Great Western said its services were stopping at Swindon and Reading and were not expected to be running again before midday at the earliest.

"We apologise to commuters caught up in delays during today's peak-time travel, but the services have been stopped by police after a coded warning was issued," the spokesman said.

"It is out of our hands as to when the line will re-open."

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