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Rail passengers hit back

PUBLISHED: 05:01 28 January 2003 | UPDATED: 16:13 24 February 2010

RAIL passengers who abandoned a stranded train and walked alongside the track to the nearest station have hit back at claims they were "acting dangerously".

RAIL passengers who abandoned a stranded train and walked alongside the track to the nearest station have hit back at claims they were "acting dangerously".

The frustrated group persuaded the train's driver to open the emergency doors so they could climb out after it became trapped between Ingatestone and Shenfield on Friday.

They walked a quarter-of-a-mile back to Ingatestone station to avoid further delays on a day of misery for commuters travelling between Norwich and London.

The GER train had been held up by an engine fire on another locomotive and restless passengers took the matter into their own hands after a wait of almost two hours.

GER later condemned their behaviour as potentially "very dangerous" and said it had achieved little.

But Mike Yardley, one of the group who left the train, said the passengers' action had been supervised by the driver and had created no danger.

He said some passengers had got restless during the delay and had told the driver they would force the emergency doors open if they were not allowed off.

The driver broke the emergency glass and allowed more than 100 of the passengers to climb a ladder down to a path beside the track.

"The train was partially evacuated in good order and we walked in good order back to the station at Ingatestone," he said.

"At no time was there any danger whatsoever. Firstly because the power was switched off, and as it was supervised by the driver himself."

Mr Yardley, an author and broadcaster from Witham, added: "The real danger is having a network that doesn't function properly.

"The fact is that both GER and Anglia Railways are letting people down and you can't treat people like this anymore. In some countries, you can set your watches by the trains but we are getting more and more delays. It is unacceptable and we have had enough of it."

The engine fire happened on an Anglia Railways diesel locomotive at Shenfield, causing the overhead power supply being switched off for two hours.

Trains to and from London were trapped either side of Shenfield from 11.30am to 2pm, paralysing the entire East Anglia main line.

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