Taxi takes the strain

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Janette Duck was so furious when a train broke down that she hailed a London cab to take her almost 500 miles home - to Scotland. Rail officials agreed to pick up the pounds 847 bill after Ms Duck, 35, missed a coach because of the delay.

Her ordeal started after she left her parents' home in Gosport, Hampshire, where she had attended her father's 60th birthday. The London-bound train broke down and passengers waited three hours before it limped into Woking, Surrey. Ms Duck had missed her coach connection and was left at London's Waterloo station.

Ms Duck, a marine biologist, was offered hotel accommodation but she had told her boss she would be at work next day and said she could not be late.

So rail chiefs arranged the cab. A Network South West spokeswoman said: "There were exceptional circumstances ... We were only too happy she got where she wanted to go."