Hundreds of commuters were caught up in rail chaos last night after the Birmingham to Lichfield Cross-city line was suspended due to a security alert in Erdington.
Police closed the railway line along with a number of roads after a large haul of fireworks was discovered at a flat in Swan Gardens.
Residents from two roads were evacuated as army bomb disposal experts were called to examine the fireworks found in a third floor flat in a block of maisonettes.
A 25-year-old man was arrested under the Explosives Act and was last night helping police with their inquiries.
Andrew Jones, aged 22, who lives in Swan Gardens with his girlfriend, said: “The police came round all the doors at about 7.30pm asking for people to move out. There were loads of police cars coming up and down the road. The bomb squad went down about 8pm but no one would tell us what’s going on and we’ve just been left standing on the streets.”
A 38-year-old woman who wished to be anonymous said: “Police buzzed the flat and told us we had to leave for our own safety. But they wouldn’t tell us what it was about. It does leave you worried about what’s going on at the bottom of the street.”
Machin Road resident Robert Kilpatrick said he and his elderly mother had been “rushed out” of their home at 7.15pm. “It’s a bit of a shock to have this happen so close to home,” he said.
Erdington train station in Station Road was closed and the busy Cross-city line, with a ten-minute frequency at peak times from Birmingham New Street to Lichfield, was halted indefinitely.
Rachel Webster, spokesperson for London Midland, said the track was closed at 6.28pm at the request of police, and a bus service operated between all the stations along the route.
A West Midlands Police spokesman said train lines re-opened at 9pm after the army bomb disposal team had carried out an assessment and made the scene safe.
Sergeant Roger Jones, at British Transport Police, said transport officers had been sent to New Street station to assist with the passenger build-up.