Paddington rail service returns to normal

Cancellation notice
Image caption First Great Western were running about half of their normal services

Train services from London's Paddington have returned to normal following two days of disruption, train companies have said.

Services to Heathrow Airport were suspended and First Great Western trains were cancelled after a fire damaged signal equipment on Thursday.

National Rail said First Great Western was expected to run a full service on Saturday.

Heathrow Connect said its service was also running normally.

Tube delays

Network Rail said two fires - one near Acton and another near Heathrow - severely damaged equipment in west London, affecting its signalling system.

It said the fire damage was so extensive it was having to rebuild the box and associated equipment. It was originally thought the disruption would continue throughout Saturday.

The Heathrow Express cancelled its services due to a signal failure at Hayes and Harlington.

First Great Western operated a reduced service, running about half the normal number of trains into and out of Paddington.

During Friday morning the reduced service put extra pressure on the Tube network.

There were severe delays on the Bakerloo line and minor delays on the Jubilee line due to a signalling systems failure.

Image caption Heathrow Connect and Heathrow Express services were suspended

At Gatwick about 1.5 million people are expected to travel through the airport between 17 December and 2 January.

Volunteers from the London 2012 Olympic Games have been drafted in to help passengers at both airports.

They have been handing out children's packs and giving safety advice.

Friday was the busiest day of the year for road, rail and air travel as thousands of people began their festive getaway.

On the roads, dozens of sets of roadworks have been lifted on major routes but the Highways Agency is urging drivers to check the weather forecast, with heavy rain in much of the country expected to cause more flooding.

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