Train operator apologises for six-hour delay
PASSENGERS stranded for more than six hours on a broken-down train from Penzance to London suffered diabolical treatment, says one.
Customers who boarded the 11am from Penzance said the train was crammed with people sitting on floors and suitcases when it suddenly stopped five miles from Pewsey in Wiltshire.
Food and water quickly ran out and tempers flared as the train remained at a standstill for six hours.
First Great Western said that the service to London Paddington developed a leak in an air pipe, which caused the train's brakes to lock.
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It is estimated around 500 people were on board, although some passengers believe there were many more, with some forced to sit on the floor and in doorways.
A passenger from St Just, who was travelling to visit family in Hertfordshire, said they were treated "diabolically".
The woman, who didn't want to be named, said: "We were treated terribly. They kept implying it would be 15 minutes or half an hour before we would be off again and we just felt we were being fobbed off.
"They ran out of food very, very quickly and then they said there was an emergency situation with the water. We were told we weren't allowed to flush the toilets.
"The air conditioning in our carriage was broken and they said they had asked eight times for it to be mended.
"There were people who missed flights to Thailand and others calling ahead to airports saying they would not be meeting their friends.
"My son-in-law was meeting me at Paddington with children aged 2 and 4 and they were being told nothing so he had to take the children back to Hertford, which is an hour away, and then try and find out when I would get in.
"I eventually got there at midnight and I had eaten nothing but a banana all day because I thought I'd be able to get something on the train.
"They found a solution so why didn't they sort it out sooner? And when they sent the engineers to the train why didn't they bring water and food with them?
"I just hope pressure can be brought to bear on First Great Western to sort their service out."
The train arrived at Paddington at around 10.15pm – five hours and 40 minutes late – meaning passengers who caught the train at Penzance were on it for more than 11 hours.
Sue Evans, from First Great Western, said: "I'm really sorry for the significant delay experienced by our customers on the 11am train from Penzance to London Paddington.
"A delay of this magnitude is unacceptable and a full investigation will be carried out following the failure. The train suffered a fractured air pipe, which automatically applied the brakes as a safety measure.
"Our priority was to make sure our customers were looked after on the train and to get them moving as soon as we could. After extensive work to the train, customers were met at Reading and London Paddington to make sure they could get to where they needed to go.
"We urge everyone on the train to send us their details so that full refunds can be given in recognition of the poor service."