Many rail users stranded as First Great Western advises only essential travel (From Wiltshire Times)
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Many rail users stranded as First Great Western advises only essential travel
2:22pm Tuesday 24th December 2013 in News
Severe disruption to train services has left many rail users in Wiltshire stranded for Christmas, with First Great Western advising people not to travel unless absolutely necessary.
Heavy rain, floodwater, high winds and fallen trees overnight has had a major impact on First Great Western services throughout the county.
The railway line is shut south of Salisbury, while services from Westbury station via Bath and vice versa are running, but only as far as Westbury.
Services from Reading that would normally go through Westbury are only running as far as Bedwyn.
There has been some flooding between Reading and Bedwyn, meaning fewer trains are able to run on all lines, and services running from these stations may be delayed.
One Trowbridge Station rail user, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “We are trying to get to Portsmouth to get a ferry to the Isle of Wight to see my family, but we are stuck now.
“They have said we can go to Bath, then Reading and Southampton, but there is no guarantee we would be able to get a ferry from Southampton, so we could end up being stuck there.
“Because we have an alternative they said they can’t refund the train tickets, so now I will have to try and ring up to get a refund. It’s a disaster and we will just have to stay at home now.”
Ticket restrictions have been lifted across the network but customers were being advised not to travel unless absolutely necessary.
Katie Harrison, from Holt, was hoping to be picked up by her parents after staying at her boyfriend’s in Trowbridge but, due to flooding in Bradford on Avon, they were unable to reach her.
Miss Harrison, 22, said: “My parents were turned away from Bradford on Avon, so now I’m trying to get the train to Bradford on Avon and I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do.
“I will hopefully be able to find some way to walk around the flooding to get to my dad, so he can pick me up. All the roads seemed okay last night, but obviously it’s got much worse overnight.”
Danny Cox, ticket office clerk at Trowbridge, said: “We have got lines open from Westbury to Bristol at the moment and Bristol to Cardiff, but there are lots of delays.
“Trains cannot get any further than Westbury, which is the main problem.
"We are doing as much as we can with our passengers and people who want to go to Portsmouth or Southampton have to go right around.
“South West Trains said they are not running at all but we have one coming in now, so it’s all a bit unpredictable at the moment.
“People have been keeping their spirits up, but we are making sure we talk to passengers face to face and using the personal touch. We are having a bit of a laugh and a joke as well.”
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