Rail passengers were stuck on a ‘nightmare’ train for hours after a power loss left it stranded and plunged into darkness late on Saturday evening. Travelers on the service who were left trapped were left disgusted after fellow passengers “urinated all over the floor and sink” when the toilet overflowed, it is claimed.
The chaos was sparked by an ‘overhead power supply’ issue. The Northern service, which was traveling from Liverpool to Wilmslow via Manchester Piccadilly at 9.30pm on Saturday night, May 7, descended into chaos at around 10.15pm when the train suddenly stopped and appeared to suffer a power cut, with ‘all the electricity’ going off’, according to one frustrated traveller.
He claims passengers were left with no information as ‘no one announced what was going on for the duration of the stop’, and told the Manchester Evening Newsthey were left stranded on the train in the dark for two hours and 30 minutes.
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He claims that during the time the passengers were trapped, the toilet train had flooded. “Women could no longer use it, men were p***ing all over the floor and sink, the toilet door shut on people in the toilet trapping them for sometime,” said the man, who wishes to remain anonymous.
“Passengers ended up wanting answers, but there was only one [member of] train staff. When she made an appearance after an hour, she had only one update which was that no one was answering at the other end, so we were all panicked.”
Passengers then started banging on windows and smoking, according to the complainant, who says there was also a newborn baby on the train crying.
“With no answers we had to just sit and wait, with drunk passengers and no updates,” he continued. “At around half midnight, we were eventually told that a train had come to save us, so we all had to evacuate the train. [This was] hearsay [from] passengers, the train staff didn’t inform us of anything.
“We all climbed out of the train using the ladders and sat on another Northern service to take us to our final destination but it then then didn’t depart for another 30 minutes, and then decided to terminate at Manchester Victoria. All passengers [catching] connecting trains were completely lost.
“We eventually arrived at Victoria at 1.27am, at which point [it was] explained we’d get taxis but, again, absolutely no communication by staff and people [were] left stranded, they didn’t even have any toilet facilities open for us after this four-hour [journey]! It was hell.”
The ‘entire train breakdown was in pitch black’, claims the livid traveller, who eventually got back to his destination of Heald Green, Stockport, in a group taxi at around 2.15am. The only help the passengers got during the order, he claims, was from police and station staff at Manchester Victoria.
In a statement, Northern bosses apologized to the passengers on the service. Due to the ‘remote location’ that the train lost power due to an ‘overhead power supply’ issue, it was not possible to restore power, ‘negotiate safe passage for a recovery train’, and the ‘complete a controlled evacuation for some time ‘.
Chris Jackson, regional director for Northern, said: “I apologize to all customers on the 21.30 Liverpool to Wilmslow service on Saturday night. We know this was a busy train with people trying to get home for the evening – and unfortunately the loss of power was not connected to an issue with the train, but with the overhead power supply.
“Despite repeated attempts by the driver to get the train moving again, it was not possible to restore power and a recovery train was dispatched from Manchester Victoria.
“Due to the remote location that the service encountered this problem – and having first had to negotiate a safe passage for that recovery train across the network – it was not possible to reach the passengers and complete a controlled evacuation for some time.
“Upon arrival in Manchester, onward transport was provided to get passengers to their final destination.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.