THE railway guard stranded with passengers on a train outside Christchurch overnight has been praised.

Passenger Michael Constantine, from Bournemouth, was one of many forced to spend the night on the train in blizzard conditions throughout Thursday night into Friday morning.

While he criticised the "obvious lack of any real plan to deal with the situation," Mr Constantine reserved praise for the guard on the South Western Railway service.

"He (the guard) was getting a hard time from passengers to start, who were understandably upset, but he didn't shirk away from things.

"The problem was he was simply not getting any proper information, nor was there any real plan in place," he said.

Mr Constantine, who had flown into Gatwick Airport from Spain earlier in the day, was stranded on the train for more than 16 hours.

"Yes, they did produce sandwiches and drinks, but none of the food was hot as reported afterwards," said Mr Constantine. "The poor old guard was fed with ridiculous information but he did his best - he was on his feet the whole time.

"When we finally got off the train I gave him a pat on the back and said 'well done'.

According to Mr Constantine, passengers crowded into the smallest carriage to share body heat.

He said: "When I saw the guard open up the emergency cabinet, as far as I could see, it only contained a step ladder and four large pieces of silver paper - the type used to wrap yourself up in - which were pretty much the consistency of the wrapping on a bar of chocolate.

"So he had very little to work with."