In Depth

Stranded South Western train passengers forced to sleep in luggage racks

Around 100 travellers trapped on 17.35 service from Waterloo to Bournemouth

Train passengers were forced to sleep in the aisles and on luggage racks after being stranded for more than 12 hours overnight as a result of the so-called ‘Beast from the East’ cold snap.

At least 100 passengers who boarded the 17.35 service from Waterloo to Bournemouth yesterday “were still stuck on the train this morning after spending the entire night trapped huddled under foil blankets on a train with no power, heating, limited food and water,” reports the Daily Mirror.

A number of trains are believed to have broken down in the area with the train company blaming the “severe weather conditions”, leaving even more passengers stuck on board other services.

Nicky Marcelin-Horne, who was trapped in one train, described the breakdown as “pretty horrific”.

She told Sky News that she boarded a train at Waterloo after 5pm, before it came to halt in Brockenhurst at about 9pm.

Passengers moved into one cabin to keep warm and sang songs to keep spirits up, while “one woman resorted to wearing gloves on her feet amid plunging temperatures,” she said.

Student Catherine Belchamber was attempting to visit her family in Hamworthy near Poole for the weekend.

She told the Evening Standard: “We haven’t had any water for about eight hours now. We lost all power, the heating is off, there’s no water, the toilet's not flushing.”

“It was getting increasingly cold and then this morning we realised the air con was on and we mentioned this to the driver and said do you think we could turn it off and he said ‘oh yeah, that’s a really good idea’ as if it had never crossed his mind.

“It was ridiculous. We ended up opening up our suitcases and putting on clothes that we’d packed.

“The lights went off as well, so it was pitch black during the night.”

In a statement, South Western Railway said: “Because of the severe weather conditions multiple trains have broken down between Weymouth and Bournemouth. All lines between these stations are currently blocked.

“Trains are stuck in a queue behind the defective trains and are unable to move.

“We are in the process of trying to move the broken down trains and will update you when we have further information, Emergency Rail Replacement is extremely limited in the area due to severe weather, but we are doing our best to help you complete your journey.

“For further assistance, please contact us on a Help Point or contact a member of staff at a station.”

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