Passengers are irate after they were forced to wait onboard the Indian Pacific tourist train for about 13 hours while it was stuck two kilometres outside Broken Hill.
About 200 people were on the train, waiting for work to be completed on rail tracks in Broken Hill, in far western New South Wales.
Passengers say they felt trapped and ignored by staff after the train came to a stop about 3:00pm (AEST) on its journey from Perth to Sydney via Adelaide.
“We weren’t allowed off the train at all to stretch our legs,” one said.
“The cigarette smokers weren’t allowed off to smoke or anything, they wouldn’t allow doors to be open, the only thing they gave us was free tea and coffee after six o’clock.”
‘We’re being held hostage’
International passengers, including New Zealand tourist Stuart, say they will not travel by rail in Australia again.
“We were locked inside the train and weren’t allowed to leave, with the excuse that we may hurt ourselves if we got out of the train,” he said.
“I said, ‘We’re being held hostage,’ and I was quite angry towards them and they wouldn’t do anything about it.”
English tourist John says his first travel experience on an Australian train has been frustrating and disastrous.
“I’ve missed a connection, I’ve got my daughter in bloody Sydney waiting for me… all our holiday plans are wrecked,” he said.
“We’ve come all around the bloody world. This was supposed to be one of the big trips. Some trip this has turned out to be.”
Great Southern Railways spokesman Tony Braxton-Smith says passengers will get a full refund and be encouraged to travel with the company again.
“This is clearly not the sort of experience we want to deliver,” he said.
“Never in the Indian Pacific’s 34 years of operation has anything like this happened before.
“We will be giving them a full reimbursement of their fare and we’ll be asking them to give us a chance by coming back again, so we’ll give them a 50 per cent voucher for next time and a letter of apology.”