We are sorry to announce a train delay due to a passenger giving birth
on 08/03/2013 10:59:12
Allan Stanley, 21, was travelling back to his mother's home with her and his partner Sonia Banks, 22, when Sonia's contractions started.
Moments later, on last night's 18:18 London Victoria to Maidstone East service, Miss Banks gave birth to a "perfectly healthy" 6lb 13oz baby called Phoebe.
Luckily a midwife, a nurse and a police officer, who were all off-duty, were on board the Southeastern service to help with the birth.
The father said today: "It feels like I'm on cloud nine."
Mr Stanley, from Kent, said: "I felt like, 'Oh my God'. It feels like I'm on cloud nine. It's mad. I was present at the birth and witnessed everything.
"Everything's fine, they are just waiting for the doctor to do some tests and hopefully mother and baby will be released later."
Mr Stanley's mother, Mari-anne Stanley, said the birth, which came a week early, was greeted with cheers from 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 Miss Banks as she gave birth and joked that she was having her "fingers broken gently" during the labour.
"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.
"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 the baby was a second child for Miss Banks.
"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."
Miss Banks went into labour five minutes into the journey after boarding at Borough Green.
It led train driver Rob Friend to put a call out over the loudspeaker system for medical staff to come forward.
The baby was born within 30 minutes at around 7.40pm and the train was delayed by around 37 minutes, Southeastern said.
Train conductor Colin Brooker said: "We had everyone we needed right there on the train.
"We were only missing a vicar to baptise the baby.
"I kept all the passengers on board informed about the delay and there was a big cheer when we announced the baby was born."
Father-of-four Mr Brooker added: "In all my 41 years working on the railway I've never experienced anything like this.
"It was amazing.
"I'll be having some celebration drinks tomorrow to wet the baby's head."
The train company has sent Miss Banks flowers to congratulate her.