Page last updated at 11:27 GMT, Thursday, 1 April 2010 12:27 UK

Train stranded as wintry weather persists

Passengers 'glad to be home'

Dozens of train passengers have been rescued from a snowdrift and thousands of homes remain without power after heavy snow hit parts of the UK.

More than 100 people were stuck on the Glasgow to Inverness train for over seven hours north of Aviemore.

Some 30,000 homes in Northern Ireland still have no power, but the number has dropped to about 4,500 in Scotland.

Forecasters say the worst of the snowfall may be over but warned that ice could prove treacherous on roads.

Helen Willets, of the BBC Weather Centre, said ice would be a danger in Northern Ireland and much of Scotland.

A Met Office severe weather warning remains in place for the Highlands, Grampian, southern Scotland and Northern Ireland.

'Difficult to reach'

The remote location and snowy conditions hampered efforts to reach passengers who became stuck on Wednesday's 1611 Glasgow to Inverness train about two-and-a-half hours into the journey.

It became stranded between Carrbridge and Slochd, 20 miles south of Inverness, on one of the UK's highest railway routes.

A rescue train sent to come to the passengers' aid itself got stuck in the snow so a third train had to be despatched.

A Northern Constabulary spokesman said all the passengers were well but added that it had been "difficult to reach them because of the location".

Map of Scotland
1. Train leaves Glasgow at 1611 on Wednesday
2. Train becomes stranded in a snowdrift between Carrbridge and Slochd. Relief arrives at 0130 on Thursday morning
3. Train finally arrives at Inverness at 0315

First ScotRail said a snowplough had cleared the track and a four-coach relief train carrying food and water reached the area to collect those on board at 0130 BST.

The passengers eventually reached Inverness at about 0315 BST.

A spokesman said passengers were "tired and fed up" but "no-one is in distress".

One passenger told BBC News: "We ploughed into this great big snowdrift and stopped. We couldn't go forwards and we found we couldn't go backwards.

"So they sent out another train but that got stuck too. So eventually they had to dig a kind of trench and bring in another train and get us out."

Elsewhere in Scotland, Scottish Power said 2,500 properties were still cut off from its network and Scottish Hydro Electric said 2,000 of its customers were without power.

In Northern Ireland about 30,000 homes remain without power after an ice-storm knocked out parts of the electricity network.

Up to 100,000 people were affected by power cuts on Tuesday and Wednesday and hundreds of faults still need to be fixed.

'Greatly missed'

Officers said driving conditions across Northern Ireland were "treacherous" and advised motorists to slow down.

A severe weather warning lasting until 0800 BST has been issued for icy roads.

On Wednesday, Natasha Paton, 17, from Cleghorn, was killed when a school coach crashed on the A73 at Wiston, South Lanarkshire.

Strathclyde Police undated handout photo of Natasha Paton, 17, who was killed when her coach bound for the Alton Towers theme park plunged 10ft into a stream during a snowstorm
Natasha Paton died in the crash near Biggar in South Lanarkshire

Natasha's parents issued a statement in which they said they were devastated at the loss of their "beloved daughter", adding that she would "be greatly missed by all who knew her".

The crash prompted Prime Minister Gordon Brown to speak of the need to ensure school buses are safe.

"It's very important that we look at everything that ought to be done to make sure that our buses are as safe as possible for young people," he told Radio Clyde.

The school coach had been carrying 39 students from Lanark Grammar School, five members of staff and a driver when it left the road and finished on its side just after 0600 BST.

NHS Lanarkshire said 44 people in total had received hospital treatment following the crash.

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Snow strands passengers on train
01 Apr 10 |  Highlands and Islands
Thousands without power overnight
01 Apr 10 |  Scotland
30,000 homes still without power
31 Mar 10 |  Northern Ireland


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