Page last updated at 13:56 GMT, Thursday, 1 April 2010 14:56 UK

Snow strands passengers on train near Inverness

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Stranded train passengers rescued

More than 100 rail passengers were stranded for more than seven hours when their train hit a snowdrift - then a rescue train also became stuck.

The first train became snowbound near Blackmount, between Carrbridge and Slochd, 20 miles south of Inverness, at about 2020 BST on Wednesday.

The second train was carrying food and blankets.

A third train was then sent out which the 107 passengers had to walk to in the dark through snow and high winds.

A snow plough had cleared the track to enable the third train to reach the scene.

The passengers finally reached Inverness, a distance of about 25 miles, at about 0315 BST. The overall journey should have taken three hours 23 minutes but instead lasted more than 11 hours.

STRANDED TRAIN
Map of the area
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

Passengers on what was intended as the rescue train were decanted at Aviemore and put up in local accommodation so it could go to the scene at Carrbridge.

These passengers were among 126 people it put up for the night in hotels in Aviemore.

The others were people travelling on a second northbound service and also a bus that had been laid on as a replacement for another train.

Buses have been provided to take them to their destinations, ScotRail said.

A spokeswoman said: "We found accommodation for all passengers and arranged onward transport this morning."

The ordeal began for travellers who got stuck at Carrbridge on Wednesday's 1611 BST Glasgow to Inverness when it hit a snowdrift about two-and-a-half hours into the journey.

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."

Train in snow
The passenger train remains stuck in snow

Speaking on Wednesday night, a ScotRail spokesman said: "The weather is bad, but we wouldn't be transferring people if we thought the conditions were dangerous."

A Northern Constabulary spokesman said at the time of the rescue: "They are all safe and well and Network Rail staff are on board.

"It has been difficult to reach them because of the location."

On their return to Inverness, taxis were being provided to get most of the passengers home.

About 200 people had to spend the night in Aberdeen after the line to Inverness became blocked between Keith and Inverurie.

They are likely to be stranded in the city for some time as roads in the same locations are also blocked.



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