A number of problems on the railways this morning caused severe delays for commuters in west London and on the Elizabeth line.
A broken rail track near Hayes & Harlington station in west London caused problems on GWR and Elizabeth line services in the area, and then compounding the problem, a broken down train at Paddington affected the Elizabeth line out to Abbey Wood.
At Woolwich, if the Elizabeth line has a major problem, people have the option of swapping to the nearby DLR or mainline rail stations – but it can almost be a sign of the success of the Elizabeth line in attracting new passengers that the DLR now struggles to cope with the crowds.
Before the Elizabeth line opened, the DLR at Woolwich was busy but rarely overcrowded; however, this morning, the queues to get into the station at times stretched down the road.
The crowding on the DLR was also affecting Southeastern and Thameslink trains at the neighbouring mainline station, with station staff warning that the mainline services were also much busier than usual due to the closure of the Elizabeth line at Abbey Wood station.
However, the surge in public transport use in the Woolwich area after the Elizabeth line opened means that the legacy transport networks can’t cope if the Elizabeth line is closed — which is a reminder that there is always pent-up demand for public transport.
As the saying goes – if you build it, they will come.
It’s not the best way of demonstrating how the Elizabeth line has attracted new public transport customers, but it can’t be denied that it has done so.