There were more than 1,000 fuming travellers aboard the Cross Country service from Leeds to Plymouth and some threatened to take the law into their own hands after the train was stranded last night due to signalling problems.
As tempers frayed at the massive delays, some passengers threatened to smash windows, force open doors and walk along the tracks as the situation spiralled out of control.
Martin Allen, whose daughter Olivia was aboard the express, described the chaotic scenes on board - with passengers left hungry and gasping for fresh air after the train came to a halt between Swinton and Rotherham early yesterday evening.
He said: "The train was extremely overcrowded with people having to sit on the floor.
"More than 1,000 passengers were stranded and the British Transport Police were called out to deal with violence due to the frustrations of passengers.
"Babies were crying because they were hungry and the elderly in particular were distressed.
"There were threats made to break the windows to get fresh air and to open the sliding doors so that passengers could get out onto the track and walk home from there."
Mr Allen said the troubled train eventually got to Rotherham Central, where the train driver allegedly refused to take the service any further, as he had exceeded his working hours.
He added: "The train eventually got to Sheffield after another driver arrived and it was more than three hours late getting into Sheffield.
"Passengers going as far as Plymouth had to continue their journey by road coaches and there were requests to be accommodated in hotels from other passengers. The delay was due to a signal failure and engineering maintenance work going on the track that night."
A spokesman for British Transport Police said: "BTP were called at around 7.45pm yesterday to reports of a broken down train near Sheffield which had resulted in trains being stopped on the line.
"Officers attended to assist people at various stations. We did not receive any complaints of violence in connection with this."
A spokesman for CrossCountry said: “Unfortunately a great many of our customers travelling on Sunday evening were inconvenienced by signalling problems in the Sheffield area.
"Although we were able to quickly provide road transport for many customers at stations, a few trains were trapped between signals and unable to move for several hours. Our train crews provided customers on board with as much assistance as possible, including details of how to claim compensation for their delayed journey.”