Pas­sen­gers ‘trapped by new train’s sea wa­ter dam­age fault’

Western Morning News - - News - BY MARTIN FREEMAN

Pas­sen­gers on a train re­ported be­ing trapped on board at a sta­tion after the doors would not open due to sea wa­ter dam­age.

A guard told trav­ellers that the de­lay was due to salt wa­ter from a wave that broke over the coastal main­line in Devon.

The fault ap­par­ently af­fected one of the newly in­tro­duced In­ter­city Ex­press trains, the 8.44am from Ex­eter to Pen­zance, as it reached Ply­mouth.

One pas­sen­ger said they were stuck on the train for 10 min­utes at the sta­tion, and the driver told them they had to do a com­puter re­set to get the train doors to func­tion.

An­other per­son on board ques­tioned what would have hap­pened had there been a fire on board while a third trav­eller said: “This is pretty bad be­cause th­ese are sup­posed to han­dle the Dawlish line.”

A spokesper­son for Great West­ern Rail­way (GWR) said there was “no in­di­ca­tion” of a fault due to sea wa­ter.

“Un­for­tu­nately the ser­vice left Ply­mouth 11 min­utes late be­cause of a 50mph speed re­stric­tion on the line due to the present weather con­di­tions; there has also been a tree come down near Barn­sta­ple that is af­fect­ing ser­vices in the area.

“If there was an is­sue with the time taken for the guard to close the door/s it does not seem to have im­pacted the jour­ney fur­ther.”

The train in­volved is un­der­stood to have been ei­ther a new Hi­tachi class 800 or 802.

The In­ter­city Ex­press trains be­gan reg­u­lar ser­vices in the South West in Au­gust. They are de­signed to with­stand the re­gion’s vari­able weather con­di­tions, in­clud­ing routes along the Dawlish coast and bring faster jour­neys and more seats per train.

Yes­ter­day’s prob­lem came amid a sec­ond suc­ces­sive day of de­lays due to gales. Trains were de­layed and some ser­vices can­celled be­cause of speed re­stric­tions and trees on the line in the South West and across the coun­try.

How­ever, con­di­tions did not reach the point at ser­vices pass­ing through Dawlish were sus­pended, as has hap­pened on oc­ca­sions this au­tumn when gales have co­in­cided with high tide along the vul­ner­a­ble stretch of the main­line.

On Wed­nes­day night the sleeper ser­vice from Pen­zance to Padding­ton reached Ex­eter hours late and the ser­vice ter­mi­nated at Read­ing, mean­ing pas­sen­gers had to leave their beds to catch a dif­fer­ent train to com­plete the jour­ney to Lon­don.

A GWR spokesman said the prob­lem was due to a train fault. Pas­sen­gers would be en­ti­tled to a re­fund, he added.

‘Th­ese trains are sup­posed to han­dle the Dawlish line’

A pas­sen­ger on the prob­lem train

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