A MUM-OF-TWO has spoken of her horror and fear as she became stuck on a train — while her nine-year-old was left on a dark platform alone.
Stephanie Richards and daughter Eve made their way back from a family day out in Cardiff on the Arriva Trains 18.04 service to Gowerton.
But when the time came to depart and make their way home for a night in with a Chinese takeaway, they were forced to use different doors to exit the train — one of which did not work.
But Miss Richards claims the conductor refused to take the train back to Gowerton, meaning she was forced to continue on to Llanelli, leaving her daughter stranded.
"We'd been to Cardiff to see the Madagascar show," said Miss Richards.
"It was a nice family day out, we'd done a little bit of shopping as well with my friend and her 10-year-old son. We got the train from Cardiff to Gowerton, and my daughter saw a friend sitting a few rows behind us, so went to talk to them. As we were approaching Gowerton, I said to my daughter to come to me so we could get off together."
But a food trolley was blocking the aisle, cutting her off from her daughter.
"I asked if the man could move the trolley so she could come through, and he said no, and told us we'd have to use different exits," claimed Miss Richards, of Glan yr Afon, Bryngwyn Village, Gorseinon.
"We used different exits, and as we were pressing the buttons to get off at our exit, they wouldn't open. We then squeezed past the trolley to try the other doors, when the train started moving."
Miss Richards said it was at this time she started going frantic, realising Eve was on the platform alone.
"It's such a dark area where the station is in Gowerton, I think I went into a panic," she said.
"I did not know what to do, I was thinking of the danger of a 9-year-old girl in darkness in the middle of nowhere near a train line, strangers who could have abducted her.
"I asked the guy using the trolley to go and stop the train, or to see the conductor, but he told me it wasn't his job, and that he just served food."
Miss Richards made her own way to the conductor, but in the meantime had pulled the emergency brakes on the train. She added: "I eventually got an answer from the conductor and she asked me why I'd pulled the brake."
Miss Richards explained her predicament to the train conductor, who went on to tell her that it was not a legitimate reason to have pulled the emergency brake.
"She proceeded down the train carriage to re-set it, and the train started moving again," she added.
"I said that I had to go back to Gowerton because my nine-year-old child was on her own, and she then told me she couldn't, and that she'd have to explain to her boss why the emergency brake was pulled."
Luckily for Miss Richards, the story had a happy ending.
Speaking of her relief at being reunited with Eve, she said: "Someone who was on the train who knows us got off at Gowerton and realised Eve was on her own, and looked after her.
"They had my friend's contact number and rang her to let us know."
Miss Richards thanked Jo and Anthony Inkin for taking care of Eve during the time it took for them to return from Llanelli.
"Jo's husband Anthony came to pick us up too, because none of us had enough money to get a taxi back from Llanelli," she said.
"It would have cost us more than it did to get from Gowerton to Cardiff."
She said the event had left its mark on Eve who, after the incident, developed a migraine, adding: "We were due to go home and have a nice evening in to continue the day, with a Chinese takeaway, but she was traumatised, to be honest."
A spokeswoman for Arriva Trains Wales, said: "We apologise for any inconvenience or upset caused to Miss Richards and her daughter. Our customer services department has received her complaint, and is carrying out a full investigation in line with our complaints procedure and will respond to Miss Richards directly."