STRONG winds ripped part of a train off as it passed through North Yorkshire, stranding several hundred passengers last night.

The incident happened near Northallerton as the East Coast Kings Cross service made its way to Edinburgh and pulled down overhead lines.

BBC correspondent Alan Little was onboard the train.

"There was a tremendous bang and clatter before the train ground to a halt," he told the BBC's news channel.

"That was the arm that rises from the engine to the overhead power cables, bringing power to the engine. That was that coming off in the high winds.

"We have been sitting here for about an hour and 40 minutes now being buffeted by these tremendous winds and the rain in the half-darkness - we are down to emergency lighting and of course no heating, so it is getting very, very cold."

Mr Little said the staff from the buffet car had provided water and snacks.

"People are pretty good humoured," he said. "When you ask passengers here what they are feeling they say 'we are pretty well off compared to those poor people whose homes have been flooded out'."

Nick Wood, a spokesman for East Coast, said a 'Thunderbird' loco had arrived at the scene and was due to haul the train to Edinburgh.

"We appreciate it's hardly ideal for all of our passengers who have been stuck onboard and we appreciate all their patience," he said. "We are doing our best in the weather circumstances to get them moving."

Mr Wood confirmed the suggestion that the pantograph had been blown off.

"That then brought down a section of the overhead line," he said. "Network Rail have been on site assessing the damage and they are hoping to fix it overnight so  that services can run as near to normal in the morning."

Mr Wood it was safer to keep people on the original train, rather than transfer them to another one.

"They will be attached to the Thunderbird which will haul them all the way up to Edinburgh. We estimate that will probably take between two and two-and-a-half hours to get up there because there are still some speed restrictions further up the line due to the high winds."

Mr Wood gave an insight into how difficult it was to operate trains in such weather.

"The elements are out of our control. We work very closely with our partners at Network Rail to try and ensure that when we do have incidents like this we are in a position to be able to fix them as quickly and as efficiently as possible and ensure that the welfare of the passengers is the number one priority," he said.

Mr Wood said he hoped services would be running as near to normal as possible on Thursday.

"The advice to all passengers is to check before they travel, either on our Twitter feed, @eastcoastuk or on the company website."

  • Were you on the train or others caught up in the backlog? Tell us your experience either at the foot of this story, by emailing or tweeting @thenorthernecho