Duvets are usually looked upon with fondness by weary Monday-morning commuters but that was not the case for rail passengers yesterday.
An errant bedspread brought chaos to the Airedale rail network during the morning rush-hour, after becoming tangled between overhead power lines and a passing train in Keighley.
The duvet was lying draped across the power lines when the commuter train ran underneath, snarling it in the mechanism.
It took more than an hour before the bedding could be freed, during which time scores of trains had to be cancelled on the Airedale line servicing Skipton, Bradford and Leeds.
How it found its way on to the power lines by a bridge near Keighley railway station remains a mystery.
At first, the incident was reported to passengers at nearby stations as vandalism and on Twitter transport authority Metro said the duvet had been “thrown on to overhead lines”.
Rail firm Virgin Trains also blamed vandals, taking to Twitter to make the tongue-in-cheek comment: “What duvet think they’re playing at?”
But a spokesman for Network Rail said while the duvet could have been placed there deliberately, it could equally have been blown there by a gust of wind.
She said: “It’s something of a mystery as to how the duvet ended up on the overheads in the first place but it is possible it blew there.”
A spokesman for British Transport Police said the incident had not been reported as an act of vandalism, so no investigation was under way.
The train affected was the 7.01am Northern Rail service from Skipton to Bradford Forster Square, which had been passing through Keighley at about 7.15am with about 75 people on board.
The duvet snarl-up took both the train and the track out of action.
Staff at Network Rail, which maintains the lines, got to work and managed to free the power lines at about 8am. But the bedspread was not fully removed from the train’s pantograph – the mechanism which takes power from the cables – until 8.24am.
A Northern Rail spokesman said the train sustained no lasting damage.
Services resumed from about 9.30am but knock-on delays continued further into the morning, affecting passengers at Skipton, Cononley, Steeton and Silsden, Keighley, Crossflatts, Bingley, Saltaire, Shipley, Frizinghall and Bradford Forster Square.