Train passengers stranded in total darkness after overhead power cables damaged between Preston and Blackpool
Rail travellers were stranded for more than two hours in total darkness last night after overhead lines were damaged between Preston and Blackpool North.
The ordeal for around 20 passengers eventually ended when they were rescued by rail staff and transferred to another train across a makeshift bridge.
The drama happened just a minute after the Blackpool-bound service left Preston Station around 8pm.
Damage to power lines, thought to have been caused by high winds from Storm Hannah, brought he train to a shuddering halt on top of a bridge.
One of the passengers on board, Blackpool Police officer Claire van Deurs Goss, said today: "We were literally 60 seconds out of Preston when all the power suddenly went.
"They had emergency power which lasted about 20 minutes, but then that went and we were in total darkness.
"I've got to say the Norther rail staff were terrific. They got us all into the rear carriage and then we just had to wait for another train - presumably diesel - to come and pick us up.
"The slightly worrying thing was we had come to a halt on top of a bridge. So there was a bit of a drop.
"Everyone stayed calm and we just chatted and had a bit of a laugh. We got on so well there was talk of us having a reunion next year!"
Claire was on her way back from Liverpool with her mother following a hen party.
She added: "The staff on the train kept us informed all along. But we were stuck there for more than two hours before the new train arrived.
"They made a little bridge across between the two trains using disabled ramps and we were led across. Then we were driven back to Preston.
"My husband had been due to pick us up at Blackpool North, but he drove to Preston and had a long wait outside with the kids in the car before we got back.
"We were told we were the only train stuck on the line when the power went off. But every credit to the staff for being so professional and looking after us so well."
Train operator Northern had to cancel some services between Preston and Blackpool North last night because of the problems with the power lines and put on replacement buses for passengers.
The disruption continued today, although the company did put on some alternative services using diesel trains while workmen tried to repair the damage to the overhead power cables.
Services in the Preston to Blackpool North line eventually returned to normal at around 4pm this afternoon - a full 20 hours after the cables were damaged.