Rail passengers get taxi from Preston to Edinburgh after Avanti West Coast cancel train

Video Report by Granada Reports Political Correspondent Andrew Misra

Hundreds of rail passengers were forced off a train in Preston after the journey from London to Edinburgh came to a sudden halt.

Passengers on the Avanti West Coast train received an email saying the service was cancelled when they were already on board.

After some confusion the train stopped in Preston and all of the passengers were taken by taxi the remaining 185 miles, the journey took a total of 11 hours.

One of the people on board was stand-up comedian James Nokise who documented the journey on social media and described it as "insane"

The posts on social media platform X – formerly known as Twitter - have been viewed more than 2.6 million times.

He wrote: “At 4:40pm I jumped on a train from London to Edinburgh.“It was comfy, it was quiet. In hindsight, too good to last.”

The passengers were told to wait for the next train in Preston, but that was cancelled.

Nokise wrote: “It turned out there were no more trains north after that and, excitingly, no forthcoming information.

“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”.

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.”

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.

Avanti West Coast Credit: PA

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.

The chaos comes just days after train company was awarded a long-term contract by the government after "significant improvements" to services.

Avanti West Coast was previously placed on two short-term contracts, after it was ordered to address poor performance on vital routes, including between Manchester and London.

In a statement regarding the cancellation Avanti said:

“We apologise to our customers who were caught up in last night’s disruption. The closure of the West Coast Main Line for over three hours due to a track defect had a significant impact on our services, with trains and traincrew unable to work our planned timetable resulting in cancellations of services north of Preston."

"Alternative transport and overnight accommodation was sourced for most of those impacted we fully understand the frustrations of those customers whose journeys were affected, and we are extremely sorry for this."

“Anyone who was affected by last night’s disruption will be entitled to compensation and are urged to get in contact through our normal channels to process their claim.”

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