Wigan train driver describes heart-stopping moment he rescued 'confused' woman from tracks
A Wigan train driver has described the moment he helped an elderly woman into his cab after spotting her wandering on railway tracks near Dewsbury during the morning rush hour.
Transpennine Express driver Ben Elias was at the controls of a Manchester to Leeds commuter service when the incident happened on the morning of November 27.
As he passed Mirfield and approached Dewsbury, he was radioed by signallers and warned that a person had been seen on the busy line.
"I was expecting someone to be on the line, so I'd reduced my speed and was keeping a lookout. I'd been told there was an elderly lady in distress who had left the platform. Near Dewsbury I saw her on the tracks and stopped. She was on the other line - towards Manchester - and I contacted the signaller to halt the other trains.
"I got down from my cab and spoke to her. She was very confused and her English wasn't very good. She was pointing towards Ravensthorpe and kept saying 'house' and 'home' as if she was trying to get there.
"I took her to the train and helped her up into the cab and told her I would take her somewhere safe. It's actually quite difficult to get onto a train from track level - it's about 6ft up a ladder.
"She didn't seem suicidal, just confused. When we got to Dewsbury Station we were met by some Transpennine managers who happened to be there and they took care of her.
"It's unusual for someone to be taken into the cab, but we're allowed to do it in certain situations."
Ben, from Atherton, has been a fully-qualified driver for Transpennine for the past two years.
"I was concerned when I heard she was on the tracks, as a lot of drivers experience fatalities on the line - but some go through their whole career without ever seeing one. I've had a lot of support from Transpennine since the incident, they offered me counselling and have been very good."