A PASSENGER has criticised what he describes as a “shambolic” response after being in a train crash while travelling home to Hereford.

Josef Godfrey was among the 49 passengers aboard the Transport for Wales train that was travelling at about 60 miles per hour when it hit a mini digger that had been left on the tracks in Craven Arms, Shropshire, causing a fuel leak and a fire at 10.20pm on Sunday (May 22).

The 20-year-old student, who is at university in Bristol, said he had been travelling from Chester to Hereford when the train was rocked by a “massive thud”.

“My phone went flying from my hand and everything went pitch black,” said Mr Godfrey, who was returning to his parents’ home in Dormington.

“I was on the floor searching for it when I saw flames coming up on either side outside the windows. The heat was crazy and smoke started coming in to the carriage, so everyone jumped up and got to the end of the carriage. I pulled the fibreglass off the door release, booted the door open, and jumped out.

“I started helping people out before my mate grabbed me and pulled me away. There was fire and liquid pouring out of the train.”

The passengers were walked to a nearby industrial estate car park, where they were told by emergency crews that a bus would collect them within the hour, he said.

“Two hours later, there was no bus. We walked back to the scene and were told the bus would be 10 minutes. We were not offered water or asked if we were OK. No statements were taken.

“The whole thing after being in a train crash and then a fire was shambolic.”

A small cup of tea was offered to the passengers at 2am, he said, before the bus finally arrived at 3.10am – five hours after the crash.

“I was in shorts and a T-shirt,” Mr Godfrey said.

“I’m young and was given a blanket, but there was a 60 or 70-year-old man there and it was not fair on him.

“The bus that arrived was quite old and slow, and the driver had to pull over when we reached Moreton and stop for a 45-minute break as the tachograph was going off. My dad picked me up from there, but there were others going to Cardiff and I dread to think how long it took them.

“We had just been in a train crash. I was the most scared I have been, and we were left outside in a car park for five hours. All of my bags were on the train, and had to be left there as it’s a crime scene. My dad called Transport for Wales and did not get anywhere with them. All I have is the clothes I was wearing.”

Mr Godfrey, who finally arrived home at 5am, said he did not understand why they were not taken to nearby Craven Arms station, where they would have access to facilities, and which would have been easier for the bus driver, who had reportedly got lost, to find.

A spokesperson for Transport for Wales said: “Unfortunately, due to the incident occurring late on a Sunday night there was limited replacement road transport available, regrettably resulting in delays getting our customers to their destination, for which we sincerely apologise.

“Due to the suspected serious criminal nature of the incident, it was not possible to access the trains on Monday while British Transport Police carried out their investigations, but 24-hour security was put in place to ensure customers’ belongings were secured.

“Crime scene investigations have now been completed and we have begun the complex process of moving the extensively damaged trains and returning people’s possessions.

“TfW staff are contacting all customers who were travelling on the service to establish which items belong to them and hope to have passengers’ belongings delivered to them within 48 hours. Compensation is available for anyone who needs to purchase essential items before their possessions can be returned.

“We understand this was a very distressing situation for those involved and would like to thank them for their patience while we continue to deal with this serious incident.”