Baby Born On London Train
The paternal grandmother of a baby girl born on a train packed full of commuters during rush-hour said today: "We're all still in shock."
Mari-anne Stanley was travelling back to her home with the unnamed woman who suddenly went into labour on board the 18:18 London Victoria to Maidstone East service on Thursday night (March 7th).
Passengers on board the Southeastern service were asked to move off the train or into a separate carriage as a midwife, nurse and police officer, who were off-duty, came forward to help.
Ms Stanley said the mother gave birth a week early to a "perfectly healthy" 6lb 13oz baby called Phoebe on board - and were greeted with cheers by other passengers.
Explaining how it began, she said:
"The train was stopped at West Malling to let passengers off and I ran off to the driver telling him we needed to not go any further and call an ambulance because she was giving birth."
Ms Stanley added:
"Mum and child are doing very well. They are expected to be released from hospital today. We would like to thank everybody involved yesterday.
"We'd also like to apologise to all the passengers who were delayed but the circumstances were such that we simply could not go any further."
Ms Stanley was beside mother as she gave birth and joked that she was having her "fingers broken gently" during the labour, which lasted just 15 minutes.
"When we were taken off to go to the ambulance there were people on the platform who gave us a rapturous round of applause and cheered. Passengers were lining the platform.
"It was a fantastic reception." She went on: "The guard and the driver were extremely helpful. The driver was making announcements, keeping the passengers updated.
"The guard called the ambulance and was extremely helpful, and there was an off-duty nurse, off-duty midwife and an off-duty police officer on board the train, thank God."
Ms Stanley said it was a "pain-free labour" which lasted 15 minutes from around 7.15pm, and has resulted in a second child for the mother.
"I was having my fingers broken gently through the labour as I was helping her breathe," she joked. "I believe it was the midwife that helped deliver her."
She praised the response of other passengers on board, saying they moved away without any dissent.
"They were asked to leave the carriage to give us a bit of dignity, and everyone either left or got on another carriage.
"We're all still in shock."
People took to Twitter to offer their congratulations, including a parody account of Southeastern which tweeted: "Congrats to the woman who gave birth on train from Victoria this evening.
"Hope #Southeastern didn't fine your baby for not having a ticket."
The account later added:
"Anyone else heavily pregnant on the #Southeastern network? Yesterday's on-board birth was a great excuse for late trains."
Another tweeter, @hsdeal, said: "I think the baby born on #southeastern tonight should be given free rail travel for life."
A South East Coast Ambulance Service spokesman said:
"We were called at around 7.25 yesterday evening to West Malling railway station to reports of a woman in the later stages of labour on board a train.
"We attended, sending a single ambulance to the scene. There was already a midwife on scene with the patient so she was able to help the lady.
"I understand we were on scene as the baby was being born or just after and believe the baby is doing well. She was taken to the Tunbridge Wells Hospital in Pembury.
"We would like to thank the midwife for everything she did at the scene and also to everyone else on the train, but also we would like to wish mother and baby well."