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Cat survives 1,700 mile journey to and from Swansea, stowed away on train

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: January 19, 2013

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A MISSING cat used one of its nine lives after surviving a 1,700-mile train journey trapped in the undercarriage of an inter-city train.

Polly disappeared from her home in Plymouth three weeks ago, and found her way under the carriage of a First Great Western train, which made a series of trips between London, Swansea and the west country.

The 2-year-old tabby was discovered when train manager Emily Mahoney-Smith heard her meows when the train stopped briefly on its way to Cornwall.

She said: "She was in surprisingly good condition and her coat was very shiny, although she was incredibly smelly from her infected leg.

"She was very friendly and when I made a couple of PA calls she could be heard purring in the background.

"It's amazing how she survived for so long — I think she climbed into the train as she was after rats in the shunting yard."

Polly is thought to have climbed on board the high-speed express near her home in Plymouth, and is believed to have got into the sealed unit when the panels were removed for maintenance at a shunting depot.

Her two-day ordeal saw her go without food and water, as she travelled to London Paddington, and then to Swansea, back to Paddington and then to Bristol.

The following day the same train went back to Paddington via Worcester and Oxford, then to Swansea again, before returning to London, and then Cornwall.

Although she survived, she suffered a badly broken leg, which later had to be amputated, and is recovering at a veterinary practice.

She was traced to her owners, retired train driver Arthur Westington and his wife Louisa, thanks to a microchip.

Mrs Westington said: "We missed her and were very surprised when the cattery rang to say she'd been found and was in Penzance.

"We can't wait to have her back — she's certainly seen more of the country than we have."

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