Swan rescued from tracks after blocking trains

Photo: Handout photo taken with permission from the twitter feed of @_Nicola_C

An injured swan had to be rescued after it made its way onto the tracks at a station in west London, causing hours of delays.

Rush-hour commuters had their journeys disrupted on Monday after the swan blocked two trains on the tracks at South Acton station.

Nicola Cilliers, 43, and her partner Steve Fraser called the RSPCA after they spotted the bird at around 5.30 pm from the window of her flat overlooking the station.

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She told the PA news agency: “At first, we thought it was rather funny seeing a swan on the tracks holding up a train and then two trains but it quickly turned to concern for his welfare.

“We then went down to investigate after he was shooed off the tracks by a Network Rail engineer.

“The engineer and another man stayed with us to guard the swan while we called several charities but to no avail.

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“The fire brigade actually put me in touch with London Wildlife Protection and I got a call back from a lovely lady called Ann, a swan rescue volunteer, who was able to come out and take him.

“No one else was able to come out and we would have been totally lost if the London Wildlife Protection had not helped because we could not have left him alone.”

Ms Cilliers documented the four-hour-long rescue mission as it unfolded, posting regular updates on Twitter.

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Her final post at 10.43 pm showed the swan, “safe and sound”, being looked after by the London Wildlife Protection.

“It’s always good to see a happy ending,” she said.

A Network Rail spokesperson said on Tuesday: “Yesterday evening we were alerted to a report of an injured swan on the line at South Acton station, resulting in delays between Willesden Junction and Richmond.

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“Response staff arrived on site to safely remove the swan, who is now in the care of the London Wildlife Protection.

“Delays caused by birds are not uncommon in Britain, and while we appreciate delays are frustrating for passengers, it is important we play our part in protecting Britain’s bird species.

“Anyone who sees an animal on the tracks is advised to ring the Network Rail helpline on 03457 11 41 41 so our specially trained staff can help.”

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Shannon Butcher