Mast blown over near Thameslink line in Harpenden

Emergency repairs had to be carried out to a phone mast on the railway embankment, as can be seen fr

Emergency repairs had to be carried out to a phone mast on the railway embankment, as can be seen from the Hollybush Lane/Sun Lane railway bridge. Photo courtesy of Cllr Mike Wakely - Credit: Photo courtesy of Cllr Mike Wakely

Strong winds nearly toppled a phone mast onto tracks along the Thameslink route in Harpenden at the weekend, forcing train services to stop because of safety concerns.

The majority of Thameslink commuters had to travel by bus throughout Saturday (10) afternoon while Network Rail dealt with the leaning mast.

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “At lunchtime we were made aware that a mast near Harpenden on the main line out of St Pancras was leaning towards the railway.

“As a safety precaution we stopped trains passing through this area and sent engineers to the site to inspect the mast. The mast has now been removed.”

The line was reopened at 8.11pm.

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Harpenden councillor Mike Wakely, who is a civil engineer by trade, said he noticed the crooked mast on the embankment while walking near the junction of Hollybush and Sun Lanes.

He said: “I suspect the ground was saturated with water. The mast was leaning against a nearby cabin. It could have fallen across the overhead wires.”

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A spokesman for Govia Thameslink Railway said that at about 12.30pm the rail operator received a report that a phone mast was at risk of falling in high winds onto tracks.

He went on: “All services were stopped for safety and we brought in buses to run between St Albans and Luton with a shuttle service of two trains per hour between Bedford and Luton and St Albans and London.

“We also had buses transferring Thameslink passengers to the Great Northern route, from Luton to Hitchin, St Albans to Hatfield and from Bedford to St Neots.”

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