First Great Western now finds itself in a PR nightmare. The company is attempting to do some crowd control by apologizing to travellers after they were left stranded Sunday evening for nearly six hours. According to the rail operator, this delay was caused by a fractured air pipe that caused the brakes on the train to lock up. This event occurred on the company’s service from Penzance to London Paddington.
Reports from the rail company show that nearly 500 people were on board the train when this delay occurred. The train itself stalled just outside Pewsey, Wiltshire. It was there that the train stayed for nearly six hours as workers attempted to fix the problem. The train finally did arrive at Paddington at 10:15 p.m., but the overall trip took nearly 12 hours.
Passengers on the train said that they were treated like cattle while the train was at a standstill, and the whole journey was simply horrific. Passengers continued that there was simply not enough room for everyone to sit down and nearly 30 people were standing in every carriage. The train ran out of food and water. The toilets even stopped working after a while, so everything smelled really bad.
One reason this breakdown was so terrible was the fact that the train was overcrowded before it ever broke down. There were tons of people standing in each carriage, and during the breakdown they had no place to sit. Some of them attempted to sit on the floor, but it was extremely crowded. Passengers said it would have not been so bad had there been air, but that was not working either.
The travellers on the train had no idea what was going on. Apparently the management on the train was not doing a very good job communicating with their passengers. Instead, they were left wondering just how long they would be stranded on the train tracks.
A spokeswoman for First Great Western, Sue Evans, said that her company is extremely sorry for the significant delay that people experienced while using this service. She said that the delay of this magnitude is unacceptable on every level and a full investigation is underway to find out why the train failed. Right now, the company knows that the train did suffer a fractured air pipe. When this happens, the brakes are automatically applied for safety reasons.
Evans added that its top priority is to make sure that everyone is safe on the train. After some very extensive work, engineers were able to get the train moving again, and the travellers did make it to their destination. The train company has already spoken to most of the passengers who were on the train and has urged everyone to send their full details to the company so that they can get a full refund.
This, however, has not stopped passengers from taking to their Twitter accounts to express their rage. People felt that six hours was way too long to be stuck on a train with no food or water. It was a terrible experience, and many of them say that they will not ride with First Great Western again.