The father of a baby girl born on a train packed full of commuters during rush hour said yesterday: “It feels like I’m on cloud nine.”
Allan Stanley, 21, was travelling back to his mother’s home with her and his partner Sonia Banks, 22, when the contractions started.
Moments later, on Thursday 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.
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.
“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.”
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.”
A South East Coast Ambulance Service spokesman said: “I understand we were on scene as the baby was being born or just after and believe the baby is doing well.
“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 station.
It led train driver Rob Friend to put a call out over the loudspeaker system for medical staff to come forward.
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.
“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.”