A TRAIN driver who suffered a heart attack when in control of a commuter train heading towards York has been praised for ensuring his passengers’ safety.

Medically trained passengers on board the 9.48am TransPennine Express Scarborough to Liverpool Lime Street service also helped give first aid after the driver began having problems breathing.

Ambulance and fire services were called yesterday at about 10am after the driver managed to bring the service to a safe stop close to Rillington Crossing at Sherburn, in Ryedale.

A spokeswoman for Yorkshire Air Ambulance said it received a call following reports that the train driver was having “heart difficulties” after the service passed the stop at Seamer. It was unclear whether the driver or passengers on alerted the emergency services.

She said the driver had managed to stop the train safely despite his problems. The train was next due to stop at Malton , then York.

Passengers were stranded and the train was halted for more than an hour as paramedics and firefighters worked to get the train driver, who has not been named, to safety.

The driver, a man in his 50s, was airlifted to the specialist cardiothoracic unit at Case Hill Hospital, in Hull.

His condition was thought to be stable as The Press went to print last night.

A spokesman for TransPennine Express said: “A member of train crew was found to be seriously unwell and emergency services were called and responded. Assistance was also provided by medically trained passengers on board the train.

“A member of staff was later airlifted to Castle Hill hospital in Hull where he remains under treatment.

“The service was taken to Malton where it was terminated at 12.10. Passengers were transferred to another service for their onward journeys.

Mick Wheelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, hailed the driver’s actions in stopping the train safely, saying: “Train drivers have a long history and inbuilt nature to consider the safety and needs of their passengers ahead of their own safety. This comes both from training and instinct.

“From what we believe about this incident this driver has done everything he can to ensure the safety of the passengers and himself to the best of his ability.”