UK

Train delays: Your stories

Hundreds of passengers have been stuck on several South West Trains services outside London.

The trains stopped in some cases for more than four hours near Woking, after leaving Waterloo on Thursday evening.

Network Rail said an attempted cable theft was likely to have caused the problem. BBC News website readers have been describing their journeys.

Emma Firth

I got the 1833 train from Clapham but it was delayed for 20 minutes coming out of Waterloo. I wanted to get home to Farnham.

The train was slow all the way, with lots of delays at each stop when it finally came to a grinding halt at around 1915, we were not at a station but the nearest one was Woking. I was lucky because I'm eight-months pregnant so I got a free, first-class upgrade.

The guard walked through the train to apologise for the delay, saying there were signalling problems. I was on twitter and could see many people were getting frustrated and there was talk that there were 22 trains stuck but it wasn't until two hours of sitting there that people really started getting restless.

All the power went off and I thought "Finally we will get off now," but a man near me said they had to turn the power off because some people on the train in front of us had escaped and were walking on the live train tracks.

Me and another man talked to each other and said "This is our only chance." In my condition I wasn't going to sleep overnight on a train, I had no food or drink. So the man gave me a piggy back off the train and helped me walk down the track.

One guard, with a torch, helped us walk across the track safely and was very polite but the police at the gates were very angry saying we had trespassed. I got home around 2300.

Martin Friar

I was on the 1805 out of Waterloo, and finally got into Winchester at 2326 - some four hours, 26 minutes after the scheduled time.

Image caption James Bilderbeck: "To pass the time, one young lady started knitting."

Cable theft isn't the train company's fault; however, the complete carnage which followed was unforgivable. Luckily we were stopped at Woking, but there was clearly no strategy in place for handling a major incident.

The staff were more baffled than us - in fact, we told them more about the incident from twitter than they received through the management chain. No useful information at all.

After three hours of delay, we were told a bus would go to Basingstoke. However it was a single-decker and could take only 70 people - useful for the already overcrowded trains which had sat on the platform for hours!

Apparently the delays were exacerbated by passengers straying on to the line. I feel lucky that we were at a station where we could get some air and mobile phone reception. If their train staff were as ill-informed as ours, then I am not surprised they took things into their own hands.

I pay nearly £4,000 a year just to travel to work. That's a lot of money out of an income which is already taxed. For that, I get to sit on the floor (if there is enough floor free - a seat is an occasional treat) and now this!

Honestly, if I could find a way or a job without the delay pain of commuting then I would.

Donna Hardle

I got on the 6.30 at Waterloo and although we were aware of delays, nothing could have prepared us for nearly five hours spent stranded.

A lady on my train was diabetic so the guard put out a shout for a doctor and sweet drinks and she was ok. After a few hours with the guard as clueless as we were due to lack of contact from Waterloo or Portsmouth, the power was turned off in the whole of the Woking area.

It turned out that someone had opened the doors and jumped onto the tracks so the power cut was for their safety. Later on the power came; almost immediately it was cut again as more passengers had the same idea. I understand they were frustrated but because of the actions of a few, thousands were held up unnecessarily for another two hours.

The blitz spirit kicked in and two carriages started hosting parties (they were en route to the Isle of Wight Festival) and amazingly, a guy in a top hat was entertaining in the next carriage (some sort of performer).

The guard on train IP59 was quite frankly amazing. He called ahead to Portsmouth to try and delay the last ferry, and he tried as best he could to keep us informed.

This was a total rail fail. South West trains, think yourself lucky we were patient (on the whole) and stoic faced with your silence.

John Jones

We were on the 1750 train to Exeter which was 30 minutes late leaving Waterloo.

Image caption John Jones: "An elderly gentleman standing two people away passed out."

The journey to Basingstoke should have taken 45 minutes, but we didn't get there until 2200.

That was only after we got off the train at Brookwood and found a taxi with five others.

Due to the train being late leaving Waterloo it was incredibly full with people squeezed into every available space.

The spaces between the air-conditioned seating areas had very little airflow and shortly before Woking an elderly gentleman who was standing about two people away passed out and fell unconscious to the floor.

The passengers rallied around and put him in the recovery position and attended to him.

It took 15-20 minutes for a note to be passed to the guard (we were in the front car, the guard was in the back) because due to the overcrowding it was impossible for anyone to move.

The guard managed to get us to Brookwood station which was 100 metres or so down the line so that people could get off the train and paramedics could help.

We were then stuck at Brookwood station with little or no information for hours until people started to take matters into their own hands when it became clear the trains were going to start again.

Next to our train was the 1820 to Exeter, but due to the configuration at Brookwood, people on that train were stuck onboard.

I understand the people on that train eventually forced the doors open to get off.

South West Trains did eventually say that buses would be laid on. By my reckoning there were well over 1,000 people stuck at Brookwood - that's a lot of buses! Hence the dash for a taxi.

Kylie Barton

I was in London doing some work experience and was about to go home, but I overheard people saying there were train delays and so I decided to leave work around 2000.

Image caption Kylie Barton: "The trains have been terrible all week"

When I got to Waterloo station, it was at a virtual standstill - it was packed.

I made my way through to the information desk but the man who worked there just slammed his doors closed because he didn't have any information to give.

I looked at the information boards but there were no trains listed.

I thought that I would get some dinner in the hope that when I finished, there will be trains going out.

But when I got back to the station at 2200, it was the same thing.

A little later, two trains came up on the board. I managed to get on one of them but it was packed.

I had to change trains and wait for half an hour before I could get my direct train home.

I arrived home at 0030.

I heard that there would be further delays this morning and decided to work from home.

The trains have been terrible all week with 90-minute delays and two hour delays. But yesterday evening's delays were the worst.

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