Fourteen trains were canceled or terminated shortly after their destinations last night (January 24) after a swan sat in the middle of the tracks at South Acton station.
London Overground services were unable to drive between Willesden Junction and Richmond for more than an hour from 6 p.m. 5.30pm at the height of the evening rush hour as passengers and railway workers tried to encourage the injured animal away from the rails.
The swan sat mostly silent, staring at the passengers gathered on the platforms during the bizarre incident, which ended around 1 p.m. It was rescued by London Wildlife Protection volunteers after being warned by passengers concerned about the bird’s health given how close it got to Overground’s 750 volt electrified third rail.
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Passengers can be heard shouting, “No luck catching those swans?” from the platforms to the track when a railroad worker tried to get the swan to move, referring to the 2007 film Hot Fuzz, which includes his own comic swan fight scenes.
When the swan finally moved after an hour, one can see a railway worker holding up a yellow panel while trying to lead it away from the station. The RSPCA as well as three other animal organizations were called in during the first hour but were unable to attend.
After kl. At 6.30pm, the swan managed to wriggle to the station entrance at Kingswood Road, where it was placed on the sidewalk out of danger.
Volunteers from the London Wildlife Protection (LWP) team came to the rescue shortly after and wrapped the swan in a protective cover to move it safely. LWP told MyLondon: “The bird was so disoriented that it simply did not know what to do. When we measured him, he was underweight, so it is likely that he simply did not have the strength to fly away. He was very lucky not to have any damage, however, and to avoid the electrified rails. “
The bird was cared for by LWP’s waterfowl specialist in a customized environment where it could recover and be monitored before being released into a flock today (January 25).
Trains to Richmond resumed at 6.47pm and a half hours later to Stratford via Willesden Junction.
London Overground does not issue delay compensation for incidents beyond its control, so it is unlikely that the passengers concerned will be entitled to a refund.
It is not known how or why the swan ended up at South Acton station, even though the station’s nearest pub happens to be called …. The Swan.
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Did you see the South Acton Swan? Tell us in the comments below!