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Last Updated: Friday, 2 December 2005, 22:05 GMT
Waves leave 160 stranded on train
Stranded train
The Virgin Train broke down near Dawlish at 1730 GMT
About 160 passengers stranded for more than three hours on a Virgin Train that broke down on a coastal route on Friday night have disembarked.

The Glasgow to Penzance service came to a halt at about 1730 GMT after huge waves caused damage to tracks near Dawlish in Devon.

The train was towed into Dawlish station at about 2110 GMT.

A Virgin spokesman said if they had known how severe the weather was they would have stopped the train at Exeter.

He added that Network Rail has told them the track has been damaged in both directions.

The waves were coming up one side, catching one side, and it was frightening
Marion Roue, passenger

He said the weather had taken a turn for the worse - the train involved was stopped at red lights on the sea wall at Dawlish when it was hit by a huge wave - and water got into the electrics.

He said contingency plans were put into immediate effect but the track had been damaged by debris in both directions which delayed the arrival of the rescue locomotive.

Once the track had been made safe the train was towed to Dawlish station.

Passengers were transferred to a Great Western service to continue their journey.

Passenger Marion Roue was travelling had travelled from Liverpool and was only a few miles from her destination of Newton abbot when the train broke down.
Stranded train
Waves crashed over the sea wall at Dawlish and damaged the tracks

She said: "It was a bit scary. Three hundred yards outside Dawlish and they said we couldn't get off the train. My brother-in-law rang through and said he could come and pick us up but we couldn't get off the train.

"Mind you it was dangerous because the waves were coming up one side, catching one side, and it was frightening."

Virgin will be writing to all passengers involved offering a full refund.

The rail line is now open but only a single track furthest from the sea.


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