Sheffield councillor stranded for hours on flood-hit train reveals 'terrifying' ordeal

A Sheffield councillor who was left stranded on an East Midlands train after it was stranded by flooding has spoken of her ‘terrifying’ ordeal.

By Dan Hayes
Sunday, 16th June 2019, 6:19 pm
Updated Monday, 17th June 2019, 2:57 pm

Fran Johnson, Labour councillor for Stocksbridge and Upper Don, was stuck on the Sheffield to London train for hours after it ran into trouble near Corby on Thursday.

Another train then became stuck in the same spot after it was hit by a landslip and then another was also stopped by the flooding, leaving around 500 passengers stranded on board three trains.

Ms Johnson revealed her ordeal in a 25-tweet long thread posted on Twitter on Saturday in which she said the ‘dangerous’ situation ‘should never have happened’.

She said: “Hundreds of passengers are evacuated from the other two and crammed onto our train. It was complete chaos. People standing, sitting, under tables; every available space was taken.

“Hours pass. Trapped, packed in like sardines. People began to visibly panic. It was hot, stuffy and airless. Miraculously, I got reception and made what I honestly thought would be my last call to my partner Joe.

“People had babies with them; were passing out; and others had health conditions with no access to their medications.”

Coun Johnson said that the decision to evacuation the train was only made around 9pm, around five hours after the initial breakdown.

A still from a video of the rescue effort (Fran Johnson).

“We heard the sirens and a huge emergency response was underway,” she said.

“We were ladder rescued out of the train, then trudged through muddy fields to fire engines and buses waiting to take us to Kettering station.

“There was a relief effort here, giving out drinks and snacks. Now in the early hours, we get on a replacement train to St Pancras.”

Coun Johnson said her 13 hour long ordeal was a ‘prime example’ of why privatising public services is dangerous and that it ‘puts profits before people's lives’.

Fran Johnson.

In a statement released to the Guardian, East Midlands Trains said they were sorry to passengers who had been affected by the incident.

They added the situation had been been made more ‘challenging’ as a result of serious flooding and rubble hampering the rescue efforts.