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Last Updated: Friday, 5 August 2005, 18:24 GMT 19:24 UK
GNER apologises for train ordeal
Stranded GNER  train
Passengers waited at the trackside after hours trapped in a train
Commuters who were left sweltering in tropical temperatures on stranded trains have been a given apology by the train operator GNER.

On one train, in June, people tried to smash their way out and some had to be treated for heat exhaustion.

On Friday GNER admitted they got it wrong when a broken cable near Peterborough brought a 17-mile stretch of the east coast main line to a halt.

The company said its procedures would now be completely overhauled.

We totally accept that in the case of the 1455 (BST) train from Newcastle to London, we should have evacuated that train sooner
GNER spokesman John Gelson

During the chaotic scenes passengers on several trains who had been trapped for hours in temperatures up to 37C, were eventually taken to Peterborough by bus.

After an industry-wide investigation GNER has admitted it got things wrong.

GNER spokesman John Gelson said: "We totally accept that in the case of the 1455 (BST) train from Newcastle to London, which was the train which attracted most of the media coverage, we should have evacuated that train sooner."

He said the company wanted its passengers to know how seriously they were taking the incident and were determined to learn what lessons they could from the incident.

Among recommendations being implemented by the company are:

  • New guidelines on evacuating trains in hot weather.
  • Extra ladders and door barriers on board.
  • And in very hot conditions more supplies of water.

    GNER said amid the chaos there were many examples of excellent customer care by its staff but, if such a situation happened again, it had to handle it better.

    Along with the apology, passengers delayed by more than an hour are being given a full refund and the offer of a free first class train ticket for two.

    Inquiry begins into train ordeal
    24 Jun 05 |  Cambridgeshire

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