Bird strike causes Shropshire rail service chaos

A bird caused severe delays and misery for commuters in Shropshire – after it flew into a train.

The train broke down in Shifnal after the bird broke crucial safety equipment.

All trains between Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton were cancelled while the damaged train was removed.

Passengers were asked to use replacement bus services, but heavy traffic meant these were also delayed.

The bird damaged an air pipe on the train when it hit it at around 3pm yesterday, leaving the train stranded on the track.

It was moved at around 5pm, by which time passengers travelling between Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton were being diverted via Crewe. All lines had reopened by 8.15pm.

One passenger affected by the delays was Lois Bowler who was travelling from Birmingham to Shrewsbury.

The 23-year-old, who lives near Shrewsbury, said: “We needed to get back to collect some friends from work. They had to make alternative arrangements.

“When we got to Wolverhampton we were told it had been cancelled. We had to get a taxi to Shrewsbury.”

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Comments for: "Bird strike causes Shropshire rail service chaos "


Why did it cause such chaos for so long. The train was faulty, why not just attach a locomotive and complete the journey under tow. Why not single Track working around the problem?

It seems to be easier for the rail operating companies to cancel services rather than try to keep them going. Is this a failure of the franchising system? Who is responsible? The train operating company? Network Rail? the rolling stock leasing company? Who operates the Locomotives held at the depot in Shrewsbury for ERTMS operations along the Cambrian line which should have been available to recover the failed train?

The franchisee system has split the management of failure so many different ways that a relatively simple failure has turned in the 6 hours of chaos and cancellations which ran through a complete commuter rush hour period so affected thousands. And of course with no through service to London the passengers will have missed connections to all over the place. Thousands of manhours of customer’s time were wasted and arrivals delayed, some of them to make the journey pointless. I hope none of the stars of the Christmas lights turn on where travelling from the direct of Wolverhampton; it would have been over before they made it.

Totally unacceptable outcome which exceeded by far the tolerance of passengers who always forgive reasonable delays on our very poor service but this is way over the top of that.


Engineering answer - the 'air pipe' is part of the braking system and any damage to that means all the brakes are 'locked on' (for obvious safety reasons) and the train cannot be moved until the pipe is sealed and compressed air can be applied to release the brakes. Even if you have a tow loco available, until the pipe is repaired the train cannot be moved. And not an easy repair to do in the middle of the countryside especially as any spare part probably has to come from Oxley - possibly even either Tyseley or Machynlleth..