Passengers break out of halted train

PASSENGERS staged a break-out of a broken-down train after the vehicle was held at a standstill for nearly four hours.

Last Friday (October 29), an service from London Kings Cross to Cambridge stopped just outside Foxton just before 5pm, meaning the 374 passengers on board were left stranded.

However, a group of 15 people took matters into their own hands by forcing open a door of the First Capital Connect (FCC) service and walking about 500 metres to Foxton station.

British transport police were called, but no one was apprehended.

The remaining passengers remained on board for several hours before being collected and taken to Royston station, where replacement bus services were provided.

Graham Smith, 53, of Cambridge, said he was one of those held on the train. He said: “It was a complete shambles. The train had broken down at 4.55pm while it was still daylight.

“We were told from the outset that the train could not be moved, so we would probably have to evacuate at some point. Therefore, why did they wait four hours before we were transferred to another train?”

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“We were taken to Royston and then transferred to Cambridge by buses. I, my wife and a neighbour with two small children eventually arrived back home in Cambridge at 9.30pm.

“This was the first time I had travelled on a train in more than 15 years. Never again.”

FCC, who confirmed the delay was down to a fault with power cables, have stood by their decision to keep the passengers on board, and said that all will get a full refund.

A spokesman for the company said: “We acted and will always act in the best interests of safety of the passengers. In this incident the safest place was on the train.

“We apologise sincerely to our customers for what happened. We followed all our usual procedures to get people off the train safely and as quickly as possible.”

He stated that passengers were given updates from the driver every 15 minutes.

A passenger who remained on the train for the duration but did not want to be named, told The Crow: “It’s a very frustrating situation to be in. I had places to be, and there was nothing I could do.

“It just goes to show how unreliable and disrupting public transport can be.

“I found out that some people were making a break for it, and fair play to them for it.”

The delay and repay scheme employed by FCC means that all those delayed for over 60 minutes can retain a full refund.