THE much-anticipated direct train from Okehampton to London — the first in 50 years — hit a stumbling block this morning as the engine slid down a bank on its way out of Okehampton, damaging the wheels and deeming it unsuitable for the rest of the journey.
The wet weather overnight and this morning had caused the tracks to be slippery and as the train, organised by OkeRail, left Okehampton Station this morning just before 8am, it slipped on its tracks causing ‘flats on the wheels’ — where the wheel wears away and causes flat areas. An engineer confirmed the damage was too much to continue and the train was directed to Exeter, St David’s where another train was waiting for passengers to continue their journey.
A member of staff announced to passengers on the train: ’As we’ve left Okehampton we have virtually slipped all the way down the bank which has caused flats on the wheels. We have had an engineer out to check and he said the damage is too deep to continue to London. We are making way to Exeter, St David’s at 35mph and when we get there we have got another train waiting for us.
‘I do apologise to you all for this problem. It was completely unforeseen. Getting up to Okehampton was very, very slippery and coming down from Okehampton down the bank has meant we’ve slipped virtually all the way down, which has caused these bad flats.’
But despite the hic-up the service arrived in London just 30 minutes late.