A woman said she felt 'moments of panic' when she was got stuck in a railway station lift for nearly three hours after the alarm button failed to work.

Sarah Whitlock had just dropped a friend at Bicester North Station when the lift which goes to Platform 2 came to a shuddering halt three or four feet above the ground.

She said: “I pressed the buzzer immediately once I realised, oh god this has happened, and a notice came up saying ‘lift out of service’. I assumed someone was going to say something and I waited and waited and nothing.

"I waited three seconds for someone to speak as it said but nothing. There was a message about going online but I only had my car keys with me not my phone.

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"I must have rung the buzzer 20 times, at one point I leaned on it. I could hear people outside saying that the lift was out of order but contact with the outside world was zilch.

"Fortunately I don’t suffer from claustrophobia but there were moments of panic. I thought, it’s Friday afternoon, everyone’s gone home! And then I panicked about the air. I was breathing through a crack in the door.

"I could not even sit on the floor because I'm in my 70s and I was worried in case I had to get up quickly and answer the intercom."

Mrs Whitlock finally started shouting and was heard by chance by a member of the station staff who was working in ticket office and happened to take a walk over the footbridge.

Mrs Whitlock said: "If I did not have this voice… Garry Roberts heard my cries for help. He could not believe it. He ran off and said, don’t worry, I will get you out."

However, she then faced a long wait for the lift engineer… who was stuck in traffic.

She said: “So then we were looking at two hours I'd been in the lift."

Finally the fire brigade came, opened the operating panel and pressed the button and the doors opened. "It took two minutes," she said.

Chiltern Railways apologised to Mrs Whitlock.

A spokesperson said: "We offer our unreserved apologies that the emergency phone line in the lift did not connect to the relevant helpline for assistance. We understand that it must have been a distressing experience for the customer.

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"We are grateful that a member of station staff noticed calls for help and acted accordingly.

"All the lifts and lift call points at Bicester North are checked daily, every morning, by station staff. A daily check that morning was completed, but no fault was found, meaning that the lift fault occurred later in the day.

"The lift in question is now fully operational."