RAIL services came to a halt for several hours last night when the engine of a train caught fire in Evesham.

Firefighters attended the town's station at about 8.50pm following reports of a blaze in the undercarriage of the 19.44 service from Great Malvern to Paddington.

On arrival, they found rail engineers had already extinguished the fire, but two crew members with breathing apparatus used a hose reel and foam to ensure it was fully out.

A spokesman for Network Rail said all 14 passengers on board were safely evacuated and transferred onto road transport for the remainder of their journey.

Dr Richard Long, of Bromsberrow Heath, near Ledbury, was a passenger on the 18.22 from Paddington which was forced to stop in Honeybourne while the fire was dealt with.

He said: "The train had already left half an hour late because of the weather. When we got to Honeybourne, we stopped and the train manager instructed us that the engine of the train in front was on fire.

"We sat there for about an hour and a half while the fire brigade came and put the falmes out and then the engineers had to come make sure the train was safe to proceed, and then in due course it did do that.

"We had to get out at Worcester Shrub Hill and change trains to the 19.22 from Paddington. I got into Ledbury at about 12.45am - almost two-and-a-half hours late.

"When we had to get out at Shrub Hill there were 57 of us waiting to get to Ledbury or Hereford or Colwall, and so on. There was one complaint but there was nothing more that the excellent First Great Western could have done.

"They were absolutely splendid and they kept us all informed and invited us to the buffet car and gave us carte blanche to have what we wanted. They brought round a sheet for us to write our email adresses on to compensate us, but I shan't accept it because they were brilliant.

"We don't know what happened to the train in front."