Last year, Berkshire commuters dealt with hundreds of hours of strike action - with additional delays from issues on the train lines.

From being stranded on a train for four hours to missing out on days of work, the impact of such disruption has been felt across the county.

AJ, who travels from Slough to London for work says she was one of many who were stuck on an Elizabeth Line train from London on December 7, 2023.

She said: "We were told a cable had snapped from a carriage at Ealing Broadway and the power had to be cut for the whole line.

"My train had just left Paddington and we became stranded on the track at 6:40pm.

"The driver kept updating us and was requesting to return to the platform - which he was told was not an option."

Nearly two hours into the ordeal, station staff planned a train-to-train evacuation.

"We waited and waited and nothing happened. There was no electricity on the train anymore, there were no lights, people needed the toilet. People were using the emergency exit to take smoking breaks. It was awful.

"At 10:15pm they told us to get off the train and walk to the nearest platform.

"By 10:45pm you couldn't get a train for anywhere else. Most of us had to get taxis and Uber's. A lot of people were trying to get to Slough and Reading."

AJ has not received any compensation from the ordeal and finally got home in a £40 taxi.

Since then AJ has spoken with a woman she recognised from the train who said she is "traumatised by the experience" and had to spend £150 to return to Reading that night.

AJ added: "It felt like the train operator didn't know what to do and didn't know how to evacuate people.

"I feel like we have got a worse service now, it is always delayed there are always issues - broken down trains, doors don't shut.

"It isn't reliable. Great Western Railway has had their service cut so there is no backup for the Elizabeth Line.

"I have commuted to London for 16 years and never experienced anything like this. It was shocking."

Following the incident, a Network Rail spokesman said: “We are so sorry for the difficult journeys passengers endured on our railway and we will be investigating how and why it happened."

Transport for London (TfL) said in a statement: “We’re sorry that the damage caused to Network Rail’s overhead power lines by another rail operator’s train has caused significant disruption to our Elizabeth line customers as well as all train operators out of London Paddington.

“We worked to get customers off stranded trains as quickly as possible and to provide any support needed.”

The delays and cancellations, which saw seven trains stranded, took place during strike action - which happened on and off last year during RMT and ASLEF union fights over pay.

Connor Smith, 27, said he has missed out on 20 working days from disruption - the majority of which was down to strike action impacting his ability to get to jobs in London.

"The money I lost would have been a nice holiday - I didn't get a holiday last year," he said.

"It is a difficult one as I think everyone is entitled to more pay."

Mr Smith is limited in how he travels to work, with crackdowns on ULEZ and congestion zones making it expensive for him to use alternative modes of transport.

Slough Observer:

A pharmacist who travels on the train for work said the strikes are "very irritating".

Meanwhile, one family from Slough shared how they were unable to attend their daughter's graduation due to strike action preventing them from making it to Lancaster.

"It was a real shame. It seems to have gone on for a really long time.

"She wasn't always able to come home from university either."

A handful of other commuters said that they have become used to constantly checking for any changes in their train times, with many having been held up at one point or another.

However, for some who have a more flexible workplace, it appears work from home has become a fall-back option for anyone who relies on trains to get to work during strike action.

Speaking on strike action, ASLEF’s general secretary Mick Whelan said: "Many of our members have now not had a single penny increase to their pay in half a decade, during which inflation soared and with it the cost of living. 

"Train drivers didn't even ask for an increase during the Covid-19 pandemic when they worked throughout as key workers, risking their lives to allow NHS and other workers to travel.

"The government and train operating companies must come to the table with a realistic [pay] offer so we can end this dispute and work together to ensure the future of our railways."

RMT came to an agreement with rail operators in November 2023 over pay and conditioners - meaning there is no further strike action planned, as ASLEF prepare for further strikes in March.