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Family in ride from hell on failed 'Disney train'

PUBLISHED: 14:24 17 February 2010 | UPDATED: 11:28 23 August 2010

NIGHTMARE ORDEAL: The Haselden Family

NIGHTMARE ORDEAL: The Haselden Family

A FAMILY of nine were trapped on the worst train you can imagine, according to an independent review into the failings of Eurostar. Mary and James Haselden, of Leith Park Road, Gravesend and their close family were among the hundreds put through a harr

A FAMILY of nine were trapped on "the worst train you can imagine," according to an independent review into the failings of Eurostar.

Mary and James Haselden, of Leith Park Road, Gravesend and their close family were among the hundreds put through a harrowing nine hours when caught on the 'Disney Train', one of five which broke down in the Channel Tunnel overnight from December 18 to 19.

They told the Reporter of "being trapped like prisoners" forced to use overflowing toilets and endure terrible heat, as they travelled home from a weekend at Disneyland Paris.

An independent review into the incident was published on Friday and speaking at a press conference at Kings Cross station in London, Christopher Garnett, joint chairman of the review, said: "This incident caused some passengers distress and others enormous disruption to their holiday plans at a critical time.

"The experience of the Disney Train was the worst example, which has led to a lot of the recommendations we have made.

"Conditions started to get very bad, very quickly. Out of the five this was the worst train you can imagine."

Describing the conditions passengers were left in, he cited "rapidly rising temperatures that saw parents strip their babies to their nappies," and 670 passengers forced to share only 10 toilets for hours.

Mary Haselden, 62, and husband James 63, travelled with their son Matthew, 37 and daughter Melissa, 39 and their partners and children, including Jimmy, six, who suffers from autism.

They have all been offered £150 each by Eurostar and a complimentary ticket.

Mrs Haselden said: "I never thought that was enough, not for the amount of trauma we went through.

"The ticket is useless as I won't be using them again."

The five trains broke down due to a quick change in temperature from freezing to around 25 degrees in the tunnel causing heavy condensation that affected the electronics.

In total the review pinpointed 21 recommendations, focusing on improving the trains, better communication and improved evacuation practices.

Eurostar's chief executive Richard Brown said the company would investing more than £30million in order to implement all the review's recommendations.

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