Rail passengers rescued after station roof drama

STRANDED train passengers were forced to wait for over three hours in darkness before being evacuated onto the track after a man climbed on to a railway station roof in the early hours of Sunday.

First Capital Connect (FCC) cut electricity to the overhead power lines in response to a 999 call about the man, at Stevenage, shortly after 12.30am.

Two trains were left stranded in the Langley junction area north of Knebworth, while others were brought to a halt at Welwyn Garden City, Hitchin and Hertford North stations.

With police and ambulance crews on the scene, the man was eventually brought to safety after three hours of negotiations.

He was unhurt.

Passengers in the trains north of Knebworth were stuck for around three-and-a-half hours before British Transport Police and FCC engineers helped them to safety along the track and to waiting busses to continue their journeys.

Joanne Collins who was on the 12.06am train from King’s Cross to Cambridge, which was stranded north of Knebworth.

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The 33-year-old said: “We were all sat in total darkness not knowing how long we would be there.

“A couple of drunk men managed to get the doors open and they escaped on to the track.

“The rest of us sat there until around 3am when we were rescued by police and train personnel.”

She said: “We had to climb down a ladder off the train and onto the tracks. Police and train personnel ensured we walked in a single file between the tracks along the gravel for a few minutes until we reached a set of very steep steps we could climb down.

“Eventually we reached the road where coaches were waiting to take us to the intended stops.”

A FCC spokesman said it was a very difficult situation which they had to deal with in the best way possible to ensure the safety of passengers.

* A 19-year-old Stevenage man was cautioned for trespassing and obstruction without intent.