RAIL passengers faced hours of disruption after two horses were hit by a train at Gretna.

Monday’s 6.10pm TransPennine Express service from Manchester Airport to Edinburgh struck the horses between Mossband Junction and Gretna Junction at about 8.30pm.

Saskia Williams, 22, from Lockerbie, was one of the 63 passengers onboard.

She told the News & Star: “About five minutes after leaving, the train braked really sharply. There were lots of loud bangs.

“A couple of minutes later we heard the train had hit two horses, and several other passengers were shocked and upset to hear what had happened.

“After a couple of hours on the train, we were evacuated onto the tracks, put on another train and taken to Carlisle.

“Once we returned to Carlisle, we waited for several more hours, before being put on a replacement bus at 1am.”

A spokesperson from TransPennine Express said: “This caused extensive damage to the train and both lines between Carlisle and Lockerbie was shut while both the track and train were inspected.

“All customers and staff were safe, and our team were able to look after our customers until they could be safely transferred onto another train.”

A Network Rail spokesman said: “We are investigating how the animals got onto the railway, the fencing in the immediate area was intact.”