A WOMAN has given birth on a packed commuter train in London, after suddenly going into labour on her way home.
The Southeastern train was delayed at West Malling while the infant was delivered on board the 18:18 London Victoria to Maidstone East service on Thursday.
A spokesman for the company said he did not know who helped deliver the child.
He said: “The baby is doing OK and has been named Phoebe.
“The normal protocol for a medical emergency is for the conductor to administer first aid but it is likely he would have had to put a message out to ask for help.”
Passengers took to Twitter to offer their congratulations.
One user, @thumper_1111, said: “Baby girl just been born on 18:18 Victoria to ashford at west malling. marvelous grats to parents hope all well.”
Another tweeter, @hsdeal, said: “I think the baby born on #southeastern tonight should be given free rail travel for life.”
A South East Coast Ambulance Service spokesman said: “We were called at around 7.25 yesterday evening to West Malling railway station to reports of a woman in the later stages of labour on board a train.
“We attended, sending a single ambulance to the scene. There was already a midwife on scene with the patient so she was able to help the lady.
“I understand we were on scene as the baby was being born or just after and believe the baby is doing well. She was taken to the Tunbridge Wells Hospital in Pembury.
“We would like to thank the midwife for everything she did at the scene and also to everyone else on the train, but also we would like to wish mother and baby well.”
The paternal grandmother of the baby girl said today: “We’re all still in shock.”
Mari-anne Stanley was travelling back to her home with the unnamed woman on board the 18:18 London Victoria to Maidstone East service last night.
Passengers on board the Southeastern service were asked to move off the train or into a separate carriage as a midwife, nurse and police officer, who were off-duty, came forward to help.
Ms Stanley said the mother gave birth a week early to a “perfectly healthy” 6lb 13oz baby called Phoebe on board - and were greeted with cheers by other passengers.
Explaining how it began, she said: “The train was stopped at West Malling to let passengers off and I ran off to the driver telling him we needed to not go any further and call an ambulance because she was giving birth.”
Ms Stanley added: “Mum and child are doing very well. They are expected to be released from hospital today. We would like to thank everybody involved yesterday.
“We’d also like to apologise to all the passengers who were delayed but the circumstances were such that we simply could not go any further.”
Ms Stanley was beside mother as she gave birth and joked that she was having her “fingers broken gently” during the labour, which lasted just 15 minutes.
“When we were taken off to go to the ambulance there were people on the platform who gave us a rapturous round of applause and cheered. Passengers were lining the platform.
“It was a fantastic reception.” She went on: “The guard and the driver were extremely helpful. The driver was making announcements, keeping the passengers updated.
“The guard called the ambulance and was extremely helpful, and there was an off-duty nurse, off-duty midwife and an off-duty police officer on board the train, thank God.”
“We’re all still in shock,” she added.