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