Travellers stranded at shut Botanic station in Belfast
Translink has apologised after passengers were left stranded on the platform of a local train station.
Shutters were down and doors locked as an early morning service left up to nine bemused travellers with no access to the main exit at Botanic station in south Belfast.
The closure also meant that no passengers could gain entry to the station's foyer to purchase tickets for onward travel. Some of those affected took to Twitter to vent their disbelief as the closure - understood to be because of staffing issues - caused unexpected delays.
Keith Bailie, a regular commuter who works in Bangor, described the scene as he made his way towards the station.
"I arrived at around 7.30am and the shutters were down. I wanted to get into work early after being off for the last couple of days," he said.
"I initially thought there were no trains running but I could see signs lit up inside the station.
"I couldn't figure out what was going on so I tweeted Translink, as did others, and I ended up finding out there were people stuck on the other side of the station doors.
"There were no Translink workers to be seen at all. I was knocking on one side and people stuck on the other side were doing the same."
Mr Bailie stood outside for 10 minutes - then realised his train had left.
He added: "It wasn't as bad for me as I could go to a nearby cafe and get a hot chocolate but it must have been much worse for the people stuck on the other side.
"At 7.55am someone from Translink came and opened the doors. I went into the station to complain but I couldn't find one person to talk to. I could see no one from Translink in the office or in the main foyer. The ticket desk wasn't opened, no tickets were being sold, and I ended up an hour late for work.
"It was all just mad."
Translink released a statement apologising to those caught up in the confusion.
It said: "Due to operational difficulties, the opening of Botanic Train Station was delayed this morning. We took action quickly to rectify the issue and had the station opened within an hour.
"We would like to apologise to any passengers inconvenienced by the incident."
The station is the main travel gateway to Queen's University and serves all four rail routes across Northern Ireland.