The airport rail link that ended at Alderley Edge

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The Independent Online

Pam Read's decision to choose what was billed as an airport rail link to begin a holiday to the United States ended with her missing her flight and her companion flying off without her, and a £1,000 bill to catch a later flight, after the train arrived late and was re-routed.

Pam Read's decision to choose what was billed as an airport rail link to begin a holiday to the United States ended with her missing her flight and her companion flying off without her, and a £1,000 bill to catch a later flight, after the train arrived late and was re-routed.

Ms Read, a part-time Open University tutor, travelled with Central Trains from her home in Long Eaton, Derbyshire, to Manchester airport, where she was to meet the friend who was accompanying her on the trip.

"When I found out that there was a local train that went direct to the airport I was delighted. I decided to catch the 6.30am train because I knew it would get me to the airport in plenty of time to catch my flight at 10.30am.

"However, the train arrived three-quarters of an hour late. When we got on it we were told that, because it was late, it would not be going all the way to Manchester and we would have to change at Crewe.

"I waited another half an hour at Crewe and then boarded another train, but was told there was a points failure and we would have to get out at Alderley Edge. There the guard said those people with flights to catch would be offered a taxi.

"I was confident up until that point that things would be okay. I thought, 'don't panic, don't panic'. It was only when time was creeping on that I started getting upset."

Ms Read waited for more than half an hour for the taxi to arrive. By the time she reached the airport, her flight to Chicago had already taken off. Since her ticket was non-transferable, she had to pay more than £1,000 for another and pay for a hotel room, as the next available flight did not leave until the following day.

She said: "By the time we got to the airport, my friend had already boarded the plane. I was on my own in the airport and was very upset and had to be helped by customer service staff at the airport."

The only compensation Ms Read was offered by Central Trains was the £18.50 cost of the original rail ticket.

She said: "This was an airport service, so they shouldn't be able to treat passengers in this way. I was shocked that they only gave me back the train fare. There was no compensation for my distress. It took me weeks to get over all that, it was horrible."

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