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Community Rail supervisor quits in wake of Elizbeth Line chaos: Boss on £330K-a-year steps down after 1000’s of passengers – together with Rachel Riley and James Blunt – had been caught for greater than three hours on chilly, darkish trains

Community Rail supervisor quits in wake of Elizbeth Line chaos: Boss on £330K-a-year steps down after 1000’s of passengers – together with Rachel Riley and James Blunt – had been caught for greater than three hours on chilly, darkish trains


A Community Rail boss has resigned after the Elizabeth Line was left in disarray with 1000’s of passengers, together with celebrities James Blunt and Rachel Riley, stranded on chilly, darkish trains for hours. 

Michelle Handforth, managing director for the Wales and Western area together with Paddington, stepped down on Friday, the practice firm stated.

The chief, who earned a wage of £330,000, joined the corporate in August 2020 and commuted from Aberdeen. She’s going to proceed to work on ‘particular tasks’ till her successor is appointed. 

The shock announcement comes simply weeks after passengers had been left stranded on the Elizabeth Line, Larger Western Railway and Heathrow Categorical on December 7.

Some indignant passengers had been caught for 3 hours with no entry of bathrooms or data from operators, main some to develop into ‘agitated’ and begin ‘kicking down doorways’.

Michelle Handforth, managing director for the Wales and Western region including Paddington, stepped down on Friday

Michelle Handforth, managing director for the Wales and Western area together with Paddington, stepped down on Friday

Passengers walk along the tracks after being let off the Elizabeth line train on December 7

Passengers walk along the tracks after being let off the Elizabeth line train on December 7

Passengers stroll alongside the tracks after being let off the Elizabeth line practice on December 7

People climb down onto the tracks near Paddington after being stranded on a train on December 7

People climb down onto the tracks near Paddington after being stranded on a train on December 7

Individuals climb down onto the tracks close to Paddington after being stranded on a practice on December 7

These on the trains needed to wait till police began evacuating carriages, with some passengers resorting to forcing the doorways open and ‘self evacuating’ earlier than emergency providers had arrived. 

Dramatic footage from the evening confirmed passengers carrying heavy suitcases throughout freezing railway tracks within the pitch black darkish as they ultimately disembarked and headed in the direction of Paddington. 

Two folks had been injured in the course of the chaos whereas some missed their flights house for Christmas from Heathrow.  Different passengers had been additionally hit with a overcharge fare by TfL as a result of they’d exceeded its ‘most journey time’ whereas caught on the practice.

There have been even experiences of sexual touching, with a police officer telling a passenger: ‘Sadly we now have had a couple of incidents.

‘We have had one arrest of sexual touching and issues like that. So issues have taken longer than presumably what they need to have finished as a result of somebody determined that they wished to the touch somebody up.’

The delays had been blamed on rail system defects and broken rails that had prompted issues with trains heading out and in of Paddington. 

Countdown’s Rachel Riley was amongst these caught on the tube line, posting a selfie of her and different passengers smiling on board captioned: ‘Almost 4 hours after we obtained on, we’re getting off the Elizabeth line, woohoo!’

Countdown's Rachel Riley was one of those stuck on board the train from 6pm on December 7

Countdown's Rachel Riley was one of those stuck on board the train from 6pm on December 7

Countdown’s Rachel Riley was a kind of caught on board the practice from 6pm on December 7

The power failure meant the lights went off inside trains while the heating also could not work

The power failure meant the lights went off inside trains while the heating also could not work

The facility failure meant the lights went off inside trains whereas the heating additionally couldn’t work

Passengers start making the long walk back in the cold to Paddington on December 7

Passengers start making the long walk back in the cold to Paddington on December 7

Passengers begin making the lengthy stroll again within the chilly to Paddington on December 7

Ms Handforth earned a salary of £330,000, joined the company in August 2020 and commuted from Aberdeen

Ms Handforth earned a salary of £330,000, joined the company in August 2020 and commuted from Aberdeen

Ms Handforth earned a wage of £330,000, joined the corporate in August 2020 and commuted from Aberdeen

Amongst these trapped was singer James Blunt, who stated: ‘Been caught someplace outdoors Paddington for near 4 hours now. Out of peanuts and wine.’

Whereas the Elizabeth line, which makes use of the mainline rail infrastructure west of Paddington, solely opened in Could 2022, it has repeatedly been hit by faults, with 4 broken rails found in eight days final month.

In a letter to Community Rail employees, Ms Handforth, based on Sky: ‘It has been an actual privilege to work with you all via the highs and lows of the previous couple of years, and whereas this resolution is an actual wrench to me, I consider it’s the proper one for me, my household and the enterprise.

‘It has been such an honour to guide this area since becoming a member of the enterprise in August 2020. Over that point we now have confronted an unimaginable vary of challenges, however your help, friendship and good humour has been constant all through.

‘I’m extraordinarily happy with the achievements we now have made collectively and whereas occasions really feel robust proper now, I do know {that a} vivid future for Wales and Western lies forward.’

Andrew Haines, chief government Community Rail, instructed MailOnline: ‘I wish to thank Michelle for her arduous work and help over these previous three and a half years.’ 



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Written by bourbiza mohamed

Bourbiza Mohamed is a freelance journalist and political science analyst holding a Master's degree in Political Science. Armed with a sharp pen and a discerning eye, Bourbiza Mohamed contributes to various renowned sites, delivering incisive insights on current political and social issues. His experience translates into thought-provoking articles that spur dialogue and reflection.

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