TWO hundred passengers, including crime writer Ian Rankin and Education Secretary Mike Russell, arrived nearly six hours late today after the Caledonian Sleeper train they were on from London to Edinburgh and Glasgow was halted twice from damage caused by last night’s storm.
Passengers praised train staff for keeping them informed and providing hot drinks.
The train, which left Euston around midnight, was first stopped near Preston at 4:30am by fallen trees and damage to overhead power lines.
It reached Lancaster at 9:30am and Carlisle around 11am, but was then further delayed by material, believed to be plastic sheeting, blown onto the overhead wires near Gretna.
The train finally reached Glasgow - where it had been due at 7:20am - around 1pm. Edinburgh-bound passengers were transferred to another train at Carstairs.
Mr Rankin tweeted: “Stuck on London-Edinburgh train. Meant to arrive 0720. Still only as far as Lancaster. Send chocolate. And electricity.”
Mr Russell tweeted: “Can’t fault Caledonian Sleeper staff - lots of information, good coffee.”
John McGlynn, chairman of the Glasgow-based Airlink Group, which runs airport car parks, who was also aboard the train, said: “The staff were exceptional. I have been delayed on every form of transport and it’s not often I praise staff about it. They kept the coffee flowing and we were updated constantly.
“It was probably one of the most comfortable places to be delayed, and it has given me the confidence to use the service again.
“I get frustrated with ScotRail about their Glasgow-Edinburgh service, but on this occasion it was full marks.”
A ScotRail spokeswoman said: “The Lowland Sleeper was severely delayed due to the severe weather in England overnight.
“A tree on the overhead lines between Preston and Lancaster was the main cause, although there were further delays further north.
“Some 200 passengers were on board, headed for either Edinburgh and Glasgow. Those for the capital transferred to an express day train at Carstairs.
“The majority of passengers completed their journey in Glasgow and we arranged taxis for three customers who were journeying onto Fort
William. The train arrived just under six hours late.”
The spokeswoman said passengers had been warned of possible delays when the boarded the train in London.
She said: “Those who wanted more info throughout the night were kept fully informed, and we provided complimentary refreshments to all.
“We have had positive feedback on our customer care from several customers.”