Train delays leave passengers trapped in station after staff lock up for the night

Dozens of passengers were locked inside a railway station overnight after their train came in late.

Staff at Oxenholme and the Lakes Station, near Kendal, Cumbria, had already locked up and gone home when the train arrived around 100 minutes late at 11.45pm on Tuesday, August 16.

An estimated 30 passengers got off the Avanti West Coast service between Glasgow and Euston to find themselves trapped.

One reportedly managed to scale an eight-foot security fence to get out.

The train driver allegedly informed the others she could take them 20 miles further to Penrith, where they would need to get taxis.

However, the police later arrived and found a maintenance worker on the tracks nearby who had a key to the station.

Passenger Rhiannon Neale, 26, from Kendal, who had been to see a recording of the BBC ’s Question of Sport in Manchester, said there was “quite a lot of swearing and angry shouting”.

She was due on a direct train from Manchester to Oxenholme but it was cancelled and so she had to change at Preston which was “absolutely heaving”.

“At Preston there were crowds of passengers trying to get to Glasgow and three times we were all put on trains which didn’t go anywhere and had to get off again,” she said.

“There were no announcements on the trains, but we heard one on the station platform.”

She said they eventually set off before being held up at Lancaster.

Rhiannon went on to say: “We got to Oxenholme at 11.45. There were no staff. They had all gone home and locked up both the gates.

“One man managed to climb over the gates, but some of the passengers were quite elderly and there were a couple of children.

“The police were called and, in the meantime, the train driver got off the train and said the only solution was for us to get back on the train and she would let us off again at Penrith and we could all get taxis back.

“We all refused. There was quite a lot of swearing and angry shouting as we were all exhausted and it was after midnight by then.

“It wasn’t her fault, she was just trying to solve the problem.

“Luckily, the police found a maintenance worker up the track who had a key and let us all out.”

Rhiannon said she was claiming back her £15 return ticket price.

MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, Tim Farron, demanded an investigation into the failures of operator Avanti West Coast, labelling the incident an “unacceptable farce”.

“We have seen a mass of cancellations of Avanti services, failures in the reservation systems, and now a locked station.

“There are clearly systematic failures going on at Avanti and we cannot let it go unchecked,” he added.

A spokesperson for Avanti West Coast apologised, adding: “We’re currently looking into the circumstances of what happened.

“We’d like to thank the Network Rail team onsite for their swift action in getting our customers out the station safely.”