Angry train passengers left stranded at station

By John Weekes

Passengers were left stranded. Photo / Steven McNicholl
Passengers were left stranded. Photo / Steven McNicholl

Angry train passengers including tourists, families and the disabled say they were "dumped" at a suburban Auckland station with no explanation and no alternative transport.

In a bad start to a busy time for Auckland's train system with the Rugby World Cup looming, Glen Eden man Michael Jones says his Father's Day was ruined when he and his family, with some 90 other passengers, were yesterday told to get off the train at Avondale because of a problem ahead.

Mr Jones said he was travelling from Britomart with his wife Kim, children Christina and Jayden, and 9-month-old granddaughter Arabella.

At the train's approach to Mt Albert station about 4pm, staff told passengers the train would stop at Avondale.

"We got dumped," Mr Jones said. "We were told there was a problem up ahead."

He said the message was delivered by a woman who had "poor English" and passengers were confused.

The passengers, including tourists, a disabled man and a number of small children, had no idea what was happening, he said.

Veolia spokeswoman Michelle Roach said passengers were told a bus was on the way before and after they disembarked at Avondale. A bus arrived 25 minutes later and 17 taxis were sent, she said.

But Mrs Jones said there was confusion, adding: "Nobody from the train came to tell us where to catch the bus."

And she said only one taxi arrived.

The Jones plan to make a formal complaint to Veolia.

Meanwhile, in a possibly related incident, a steam train returning to Ellerslie from an excursion to Helensville with 280 people onboard lost a wheel, stopping the train.

Main Line Steam operations manager Michael Tolich said the carriages were owned by KiwiRail, which was investigating.

- APNZ

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