‘Tense’ atmosphere among train passengers stuck outside London for eight hours
One Edinburgh service that was supposed to arrive in London before 5pm ran out of food at 7pm – but did not reach King’s Cross until after 1am.
Passengers have spoken of the “tense” atmosphere after being stuck on trains outside London for more than eight hours.
A major power cut brought widespread disruption to the country after issues with two generators, leaving many people stranded on Britain’s railways.
Dayna McAlpine was heading to Bath for a 30th birthday and had initially left Edinburgh at 8.30am – but was evacuated from that train at Berwick-upon-Tweed due to a breakdown.
After being “directed to the wrong platform and train” she ended up on another train to Edinburgh, before then being informed to board a train to London at 12.30pm.
It was that service which stopped half an hour away from King’s Cross around 4pm – but Ms McAlpine and her fellow passengers did not make it to the platform there until after 1am on Saturday.
The freelance journalist told PA some passengers were threatening to self-evacuate off the train.
We ran out of food around 7pm - parents were going up and down the train carriages looking for food for their children Dayna McAlpine
She said: “We could see Hatfield station in the distance and there was word that other trains behind us in the line and ahead of us had managed to make it to other stations and evacuate. But there was no way for us to make it to other stations.
“We ran out of food around 7pm – parents were going up and down the train carriages looking for food for their children.
“There was people sharing phone chargers and stuff as well on the train, helping each other.”
The freelance journalist said staff on board the train looked “stressed” and “exhausted” with many passengers sympathetic in the situation.
Ms McAlpine said: “The majority of people understood that these people were also stuck on the train, you know?
“The train manager’s just another person who was stuck on the train just as much as we were.
“The catering staff started their shift at 6am so they’d been in transit for like 18/19 hours trapped on this train thinking they were going to be finishing their shift at 5pm.”
Ms McAlpine said there were a few spare seats on the service but it was busy due to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe which takes place in the city for most of August.
Amid the “frustrating” situation she has kept receipts for everything she ate and drank and had to buy toiletries as well.
She said: “LNER have said they’re going to pay us back for hotels and things but it can take up to 14 days. I hardly stayed in luxury last night as I can’t afford to spend a lot of money and then wait two weeks for it to clear back in.
“I haven’t actually purchased my ticket yet to go back up to Edinburgh but from the news of what the service has been like on the service to London I’m actually terrified to get my train on Tuesday.
“It’s so expensive on flights due to the Fringe, you’re better getting a train.
“But if you look at what services have been like in 9am/10am heading up to the Fringe it’s completely overpacked at unsafe capacity.
“I don’t know what LNER are thinking this month but it’s not good at all.”
We’ve been stuck on the train from Edinburgh to London for 4 more hours now than the journey, no one knows what’s happening, we’re currently going backwards we hope to still see our families in this lifetime. @ell1ephant— Rebeka Dió (@RebekaDio) August 9, 2019
Rebeka Dio, from Guildford, was on another train that left the Scottish capital later on Friday – but she too did not make it to London until the early hours of Saturday.
She told PA: “I was going from Edinburgh to King’s Cross and was on the train for 10-and-a-half hours instead of the four-and-a-half-hour journey. We obviously missed our connecting train to south-east London and had to pay a crazy amount for an Uber.
“For most of the journey we didn’t know what was going on, both us and the train crew were clueless.
“We were supposed to arrive around 8pm and we arrived just after 2am. We haven’t heard from them but they were handing out cards at the station so I believe we will get a refund.
“First it was tense but the more it went on, people were kind of chatting to each other and ‘painfully’ laughing at the situation.
“Our train crew was very honest about their confusion through the speakers and every time there was an announcement the whole carriage cheered.”