A gentleman in his eighties, who frequently uses the Tamar Valley Line between Bere Ferrers and Keyham in Plymouth, was recently left stranded in freezing conditions at the village station late at night by train operator Great Western Railway.

The incident, which took place last month, resulted in the affected Mr Colin Shezell requiring emergency treatment from paramedics for hypothermia. Owner of the Bere Ferrers station building, Chris Grove, in a letter of complaint to GWR, outlines how Mr Shezell was awaiting the 10.48pm return service one evening, but the train never arrived. Mr Grove states that Mr Shezell then spoke with the help point several times and was informed that a taxi was on its way to collect him, but one hour later it still had not arrived. Upon discovering Mr Shezell on the platform and learning of his situation, Mr Grove’s housekeeper inivited him to reside at his home for the evening, with the taxi still not having arrived after 2am.

In response to Mr Grove’s letter of complaint, head of public affairs for GWR Jane Jones replied in an email that the company was sorry to hear of Mr Shezell’s experience and that customer service systems on the evening had ‘totally failed’. Ms Jones then stated that the company’s teams were investigating what went wrong in the situation and that they would be ‘taking steps to prevent such an occurance from happening again’, continuing by saying that ‘it is not always possible to procure taxi provision at short notice, particularly in rural areas’ but claimed GWR had been looking at identifying locally-based taxi services instead of ones from Plymouth to alleviate such issues.

The Tamar Valley Line, a single track which runs between Plymouth and Gunnislake, has been beset by short notice cancellations in the last few years. Peninsula residents reliant on these services and affected by cancellations attended a public meting with GWR bosses in May last year to voice their concerns, also expressing frustrations about how the train operator was sometimes failing to put adequate, or any, replacement transport in place.

Bere Ferrers ward borough councillor Angela Blackman, who has been in ongoing communications with GWR since the public meeting, said: 'Following our meeting, there have been lots of promises that have not been followed through. I am saddened that an incident of this severity could ever happen. Safe guarding is a real concern on this line, for both children and now adults. GWR's performance is wholly unacceptable.'

Cllr Blackman has also made a separate complaint to GWR.