A MUM-of-two has spoken of her “journey from hell” after she was trapped on a non-moving train for almost seven hours, as the horrendous weather struck services.
When Hannah Strange, of Haydon End, jumped on a train at Gloucester at 4.20pm yesterday, she expected to be home in Swindon within an hour.
Instead, a chain of events – including a broken-down train on the line near Kemble – meant that she didn’t reach the town until past 11pm.
The 27-year-old said the service was already running nine minutes late when she boarded, but things were about to get much worse – as both the 1321 and 1421 Swansea to Paddington services were severely hit.
She said: “Somewhere between Gloucester and Stonehouse there was a weather warning on the line which meant we stopped for around an hour.
“This annoyed me as I was meeting a friend and I had things to sort out for my children’s day at school the next day, but I told myself ‘it’s only an hour’.
“When we finally got moving, the train was absolutely crawling along and then we stopped again, because the train in front had broken down on the tracks.
“After another two hour wait, First Great Western decided to couple the two trains together and push the other train along.”
The full-time student described her journey as a “very frightening experience”, adding: “It was the journey from hell – the train was moving slowly but jolting fiercely all the time, and when we turned corners the train leant heavily to one side.
“The atmosphere in the carriage was very edgy and there were people on board who obviously suffered from panic attacks, they were just desperate to get off the train.
“At Kemble station we were delayed once more while they got the train off the tracks – it was madness, we could see the station but we weren’t allowed to get off the train because we weren’t near the platform.
“One guy could actually see his house from the train and we were just stuck there for another two or three hours, it was crazy.
“I missed my bus home and had to get a taxi – I will be applying for a refund, but I just wish I could get that wasted time back.”
A spokesman for First Great Western said: “We are extremely sorry for the unacceptable delay faced by passengers on the 1321 and 1421 Swansea to Paddington services yesterday.
“As well as offering a full refund to all customers on board those trains, we will be giving them a free First Class ticket for anywhere on our network by way of an apology.
“The delays we're initially caused by a series of flood-related signal problems compounded by a train fault.
“The flooding situation meant we couldn’t get the trains moving as quickly as we should have.”