• From March 23, 1990

A “cygnet failure” delayed train passengers at Kingston station 10 years ago when a young swan became stranded on the tracks.

Commuter Tom Young was delayed for some 40 minutes. He said: “People seemed quite surprised and many were calling their employers to explain the delay.

“I suppose they perhaps thought it wasn’t a very believable excuse.”

The bird was spotted on the line near Kingston bridge by a quick-witted driver who managed to avoid running it down. However, the cygnet was already badly injured.

A Network Rail engineer from Feltham, trained by the Swan Sanctuary, was dispatched to rescue it.

South West Trains spokes-woman Simone Spinks said: “Apparently it often happens when swans mistake the glistening of the rails for water and try to land there.”

The bird was taken to a sanctuary where it underwent emergency surgery, having a wing removed and ending up in intensive care.

Founder Dorothy Beeson said the nine-month-old bird may have been crossing a bridge when its wing beat was disturbed by strong winds and it was blown onto the tracks.

Staff named it Patrick after St Patrick’s Day.

Patrick was not released back into the wild, but sent to spend the rest of his life on a lake at the sanctuary, which was later relocated to Shepperton.

Ms Spinks added: “It is in our interests to make sure the swans are not injured and also that we get our services moving as soon as possible.

“We would like to apologise for the delay caused to passengers’ journeys but obviously the incident was out of our control.”

Network Rail spokeswoman Jenny Sacre said: “Everyone in the Feltham office got training on how to deal with swans – it happens quite a lot.”

  • 50 YEARS AGO: March 24, 1965

A talk and demonstration of ladies’ hairdressing was the highlight of a Malden Young Conservatives meeting.

Hair stylist Ian Barnett, using Vivian Hamilton as a model, answered questions and talked about hair from a technical viewpoint as he created a style.

  • 25 YEARS AGO: March 23, 1990

A jazz trombonist from Surbiton who died in 1989 left up to £50,000 in his will for a party for his friends.

Jeremy French left instructions that “all my friends and associates in the world of jazz” should be given a party at the 100 Club in Oxford Street.

  • 10 YEARS AGO: March 23, 2005

Faith leaders paid tribute to communities affected by the east Asian tsunami.

The event, held by Kingston Inter-Faith Forum, was attended by 70 people. Muslim, Christian, Liberal Judaism, Jewish Orthodox, Baha’i and Quaker faiths were represented.