Avanti train passengers describes ‘insane’ 11-hour journey after chaos at Preston station
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Stand-up comedian James Nokise said he was among “hundreds” of passengers ordered off an Avanti West Coast train at Preston station on Monday night (September 25).
The train company arranged for a fleet of taxis to take the stranded travellers onwards to their destinations, with hundreds of passengers ushered out of Preston station and into cabs for the remainder of their journeys.
Nokise was driven 185 miles to the Scottish capital with three other people in a black cab – a journey that took nearly three hours by road.
“It was comfy, it was quiet. In hindsight, too good to last.”
He explained that at 7.26pm he was among the passengers who received an email stating that the train was cancelled, which was “a surprise” as it was still moving.
An announcement was then made that the service was terminating at Preston but another train to Glasgow was being held to take those onboard to Scotland.
But the Glasgow-bound train was full so left Preston as Nokise and his fellow passengers arrived.
They were told to wait for the next train, which ended up being cancelled.
Nokise wrote: “It turned out there were no more trains north after that and, excitingly, no forthcoming information.
“Some people stood staring at the screens.
“Some people queued to ask the one ticket booth worker the same question everyone else was.
“No-one knew anything.
“Around 9.20pm news came down: alternative transport had been arranged.
“Bus? An extra train? Horses? No. Taxis. For hundreds of people. To a city three-and-a-half hours away.”
At 10.30pm he was in the final group of travellers to get in a cab, describing the situation as “ridiculous”.
The comic wrote that shortly after midnight “our cabbie decided to change lanes without indicating and almost crashed into a mini-van overtaking him”.
Nokise expressed sympathy with the cabbie – who stopped to buy two cans of energy drink – as “it is late, it’s a dark highway and he’s driving a city black cab not meant for this road”.
He added: “Perhaps, just possibly, throwing money at cab drivers and getting them to drive several hours in the middle of the night might not be the best contingency plan for train companies to have.”
The A72 is “a real motion-sickness nightmare of a road” which is “narrow, dark, full of turns and occasionally just dips,” he wrote.
During the taxi journey, Nokise received an email from Avanti West Coast informing him he would receive £70 compensation, which was how much his ticket cost.
After being dropped off at Edinburgh Waverley station at around 3am, he had to take another taxi to his accommodation.
In his final post on the trip, he wrote at 3.30am: “Thanks for being on this journey with me Twitter.
“A truly insane odyssey. Five hours late, 11 hours after I jumped on the train.
“I’m going to have a shower and eat something.
“Let’s never do this again.”
Avanti West Coast was approached for a comment.