Passengers are locked in behind 7ft spiked gates at station after train arrives 100 minutes late

Climbing to freedom: Passengers are locked in and have to clamber over 7ft spiked gates after train arrives 100 minutes late and staff locked up the station

  • Up to 30 people were trapped when Avanti West Coast train turned up 1hr40 late
  • Local MP has demanded an investigation into the performance of train provider
  • Police were called in after staff went home while passengers waited for train 

Rail passengers were trapped in a locked station and had to call police to be released after staff went home without waiting for their delayed train to arrive.

Up to 30 passengers found themselves stuck behind 7ft spiked gates at Oxenholme station in Cumbria.

Rhiannon Neale, 26, a campaigns manager who was travelling home to Kendal after watching the BBC’s A Question of Sport being recorded in Manchester, was one of those who was trapped when the Avanti West Coast train from London Euston arrived one hour, 40 minutes late.

‘There were no staff,’ she said. ‘They had all gone home and locked up both the gates. One man managed to climb over the gates, but some of the passengers were quite elderly and there were a couple of children.

‘The police were called and, in the meantime, the train driver got off the train and said the only solution was for us to get back on again and she would let us off again at Penrith [the next station] and we could all get taxis back.

Rail passengers were trapped in a locked station and had to call police to be released after staff went home without waiting for their delayed train to arrive. Pictured, Rhiannon Neale, 26, was stuck behind 7ft spiked gates at Oxenholme station in Cumbria

One man managed to climb over the gates (pictured), but some of the passengers were quite elderly and there were a couple of children, Rhiannon Neale said

One man managed to climb over the gates (pictured), but some of the passengers were quite elderly and there were a couple of children, Rhiannon Neale said

‘We all refused. There was quite a lot of swearing and angry shouting as we were all exhausted and it was after midnight by then.

‘Luckily, the police found a maintenance worker up the track who had a key and let us all out.’

The incident is the latest debacle for West Coast Main Line operator Avanti, which has faced intense pressure after introducing an emergency timetable that cut hundreds of daily services.

Local MP and former Lib Dem leader Tim Farron has demanded an investigation into the performance of Avanti West Coast after Tuesday night’s fiasco.

He said: ‘What happened could have very quickly become dangerous and I have already written to Avanti to demand an explanation for their oversight.’

The incident is the latest debacle for West Coast Main Line operator Avanti, which has faced intense pressure after introducing an emergency timetable that cut hundreds of daily services (file photo)

The incident is the latest debacle for West Coast Main Line operator Avanti, which has faced intense pressure after introducing an emergency timetable that cut hundreds of daily services (file photo)

Mr Farron said there were ‘clearly systemic failures’ going on at the company, run by Italian state operator Trenitalia and First Group, and urged the Department for Transport to consider stripping them of their franchise.

A spokesman for Avanti West Coast said: ‘We’re sorry to hear about the experience of the customers who were at Oxenholme station. We’re currently looking into the circumstances of what happened.

‘We’d like to thank the Network Rail team on site for their swift action in getting our customers out of the station safely.’

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