Helium balloon halts trains on West Coast main line in Tamworth: Balloon on overhead electric lines at Tamworth composite

Monday 2 Aug 2021

Helium balloon halts trains on West Coast main line in Tamworth

Region & Route:
North West & Central
| North West & Central: West Coast Mainline South

A helium balloon has caused delays to rail passengers after it got tangled in 25,000-volt overhead electric cables which power trains on the West Coast Mainline near Tamworth.

It's prompted Network Rail to issue a safety plea to the public to not let helium balloons loose near the railway.

The party balloon got caught on the high-voltage overhead wires today (Monday 2  August) causing passengers on six trains to be delayed for a total of 44 minutes.

Engineers had to close the line and switch off the electricity so the balloon could be safely removed. 

James Dean, Network Rail’s West Coast South route director, said: “Whilst balloons are fun and bring a sense of celebration to any event, they can be dangerous and cause delays.

“Our advice is not let them loose outside, especially if you’re near the railway. Leave them indoors away from high-voltage equipment so we can keep trains running on time.”

Helium-filled balloons causes dozens of train delays for passengers across Britain each year.

Network Rail has recorded over 600 balloon-related incidents across England, Scotland and Wales in the past ten years.

For more information about how overhead electric lines work visit networkrail.co.uk/overhead-line-equipment.

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Network Rail press office - North West & Central Region
0330 854 0100

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