Last night northbound commuters and travelers were greeted by chaos just before 9pm due to a train fire with an East Midlands Trains (EMT) heading for London St Pancras. The service was the 1928 Nottingham to St Pancras service when shortly before 2100 reports came in that the rear power car was smoking and flames were seen. The train came to a halt just south of Leagrave station at 2057 when all railway lines in the area were blocked as a safety measure. Just after this came reports that the OverHead Line Equipment (OHLE) power was lost between Sanridge and Sundon trapping four FCC services.
The local Fire Brigade arrived on scene around 9pm and managed to put the fire out within 20mins. The train was finally moved to Luton station at 2210 after the Fire Brigade deemed it safe. However the railway lines weren't handed back until 2230 and the 2030 St Pancras to Nottingham service was allowed through under slow speeds to assess the damage. The driver reported that the contact wire on the OHLE was down meaning repairs were necessary.
The four trapped trains in the area were evacuated around midnight with one EMT train being used to pick up passengers off two stranded FCC services. Meanwhile arrangements were being made for buses replace all trains between Bedford and St Albans with approximately 40 buses being involved at its height.
The lines were open again for trains (on the slow lines) by 0230 and a full service between St Albans and Leagrave was possible at 0300 after Network Rail fixed the OHLE. But due to the several hours of cancellations the morning peak was one of delays southbound but FCC managed to run an almost full service. Both FCC and EMT are now running a full service although Friday will see EMT hit by industrial strike affecting services.