by Kelmeny Fraser, The Sunday Mail (Qld)
DISTRESSED passengers were trapped on a train for almost three hours in a horror trip that left scared children "bawling" to be let off and forced some travellers to urinate in open carriages.
The passengers, who included young children, sat in total darkness for about one-third of the ordeal after their Brisbane train broke down between stations at about 6pm on Friday.
It is the latest rail fail to hit the network and comes more than six months after an independent inquiry recommended better communications to "restore public confidence" in Queensland Rail.
QR has been in the spotlight since late last year, following the bungled opening of its Redcliffe line, an ongoing driver shortage that triggered the collapse of its Citytrain timetable and serious delays in rolling out new trains under a $4.4 billion New Generation Rollingstock program.
Christian Berndt, 18, of Ferny Hills was headed to a concert when he became trapped on board the Ferny Grove line train when it suddenly stopped between Windsor and Bowen Hills stations.
He said with no toilets on board, one trapped passenger had no choice but to relieve himself in the corner of one of the carriages, while a young boy had to urinate in a bottle.
"His grandparents drank all of the water in the bottle so the four-year-old could pee in the bottle," he said. "They turned all the power off and we went black for almost an hour.
"The four-year-old was so scared that his grandmother had to walk him up and down the train with her phone's torch. He was visibly distressed. There was also a four-month-old baby in my carriage.
"We were told we were going to be evacuated, which was meant to happen after an hour-and-a-half. This never ended up happening," he said.
"They decided on a few other plans, which didn't work. The announcements were horrible. We'd go an hour without hearing anything
"In the time it took to fix the train and get going again, we all could have off safely, and reached a road to take a taxi, bus, Uber - literally anything would have been better than how it was handled," Mr Berndt said.
"My compensation for my three hours in the one spot was my $1.95 fare refund and a verbal apology. I'm obviously not too impressed with that."
Ashgrove childcare worker Jess Robeck, 27, was heading to a Broncos game, when she heard a loud bang.
"By the two and a half-hour mark there was a lot of crying," she said of the child passengers.
She said one woman was in "quite a lot of pain" from holding her bladder.
"She had tears in her eyes because she was in so much pain," she said. "We just kept getting told 'five more minutes' but it would never happen."
A QR spokeswoman said the train was stopped for two and a half hours and QR apologised for the "considerable time" passengers waited.
She said the incident was caused by a flying fox becoming caught in equipment connected to overhead power lines.
"We will be undertaking a full review of the incident and refunding customers impacted," she said.