Helium party balloon delays trains between St Helens and Liverpool

A helium balloon has caused delays to rail passengers after it got tangled in 25,000-volt overhead electric cables which power trains on Merseyside.

Tuesday, 1st June 2021, 3:22 pm
The helium balloon on overhead lines in Prescot

It's prompted Network Rail to issue a safety plea to the public to not let helium balloons loose near the railway.

The foil balloon got caught on the high-voltage overhead wires in Prescot today (Tuesday, June 1) causing delays to three trains between St Helens and Liverpool Lime Street.

Engineers had to close the line and switch off the electricity that powers trains to and from the Liverpool City Region, so the balloon could be safely removed.

Phil James, Network Rail's North West route director, said: “While Helium-filled balloons are fun, they pose a real safety and performance risk to the railway.

“Our advice is not let them loose outside, especially if you’re near the railway. Leave them indoors away from high-voltage equipment so we can keep trains running on time.”

Helium-filled balloons causes dozens of train delays for passengers across Britain each year.

Network Rail recorded more than 600 balloon-related incidents across England, Scotland and Wales over the last ten years.