'Told to take off our stilettos' - Passengers evacuated off new broken down train by ladder
PUBLISHED: 15:35 28 January 2020 | UPDATED: 09:21 29 January 2020
Hundreds of people were evacuated off a broken down Greater Anglia train by ladder after being stuck on board for more than five hours.
The 7.40am Greater Anglia service from Norwich to London broke down at Forest Gate, just outside London, at 9.25am, around the same time it had been due to arrive into Liverpool Street Station.
But more than five hours later, passengers were still stuck on board the new train after attempts to transfer them to another train failed.
The problem is understood to have been a power failure on the train.
Among those stuck on board were Graham Usher, the Bishop of Norwich, who missed the consecration of a new bishop due to the delay, Julie Bremner, a founder and trustee of Norwich Pride, and dozens of other passengers who had their plans ruined by the delay.
Many passengers took to social media to air their frustration at the delay, especially as the broken down train was one of Greater Anglia's new trains.
Bishop Usher tweeted: "So sorry not to be with you. Stuck for over two hours on one of the brand new @greateranglia trains which has broken down outside Liverpool Street."
He later added: "Staff being great but this is one of our much awaited new trains.
"Apparently change of plan and we now can't board walk across to train that's pulled in next to us.
"Laddering it down and then up. Told to take off our stilettos!"
Passengers were eventually rescued from the stationary train by ladder before being transferred to another waiting train shortly before 2.30pm.
Julie Bremner, a founder and trustee of Norwich Pride, who was one of those stuck on board said the whole situation had become "a bit surreal".
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"You can't really do anything because you're waiting to get off the train," she said.
"They have thanked us for our patience and, you know, what can you do? It's one of the new trains and there are questions to be asked about that and what we need to know is why hasn't their contingency plan worked because they sent a rescue train and it didn't work... That's what leads to frustration.
"I think they need to be held to account because people pay a lot of money for the trains," she said.
A spokesperson for Greater Anglia confirmed the train had come to a standstill just outside central London at 9.25am and that initial efforts to rescue passengers had failed.
They said: "We apologise to passengers who were severely delayed after the 07.40 Norwich to London Liverpool Street service developed a fault at Forest Gate at around 09.30 this morning.
"We tried to fix the train on site without success. We then sent a rescue train, but we were still unable to move the failed train, so customers were evacuated onto another train, which was then taken to London Liverpool Street.
"We are very sorry for the length of time that customers were caught up in this problem and the major inconvenience they have suffered as a result.
"Anyone who was on board should contact us for delay repay compensation. We will be holding a full investigation into all aspects of this incident to try to prevent any similar such problems in future.
"The broken-down train is one of our new intercity trains. We are working closely with Stadler, the manufacturer of the train, to improve the reliability of our new trains. They have dispatched a specialist team of engineers from Switzerland to assist us with this issue."
They were unable to confirm how many people were on board the train.
Greater Anglia's journey check website warned passengers: "Due to a broken down train between Forest Gate and Stratford some lines towards Stratford are disrupted.
"Train services running through these stations may be delayed or revised. Disruption is expected until further notice."