Commuters suffered a “significant delay” when a c2c passenger triggered the emergency brakes "to ask the driver for toilet paper".

Passengers on the Shoebury-bound 5.15pm c2c train from Fenchurch Street were stranded between Laindon and Upminster for 20 minutes yesterday evening, after a male passenger activated an emergency alarm in the bathroom.

One passenger told the Echo he saw the man enter the toilet, before hearing the man call the train driver via the emergency communication system to ask for some paper. Minutes after the man stepped out, the train “came to a sharp stop in the middle of nowhere”.

An unnamed passenger told the Echo: “The driver didn’t communicate anything to the passengers for about 10 minutes. He then told us someone had activated the passenger communication system alarm and the brakes automatically kicked in, but he couldn’t release them.”

The train started to move again five minutes later, before coming to another abrupt halt. Finally, after a 20-minute delay, the passengers continued their journey.

“I was speechless, to say the least, along with the other passengers,” they continued.

“If genuine help was required, surely the best way to get help is at the next station or to get loo roll at the next station. Because if brakes are applied, they could cause delay in getting help, especially as it took a while to release brakes.”

A c2c spokesperson told the Echo: “We are aware of a passenger incident last night that resulted in the emergency alarm being activated.

“On this occasion, the brakes were automatically applied and had to be reset by the driver.

“This incident caused a significant delay to other services along the c2c route and as such we would ask passengers to only use alarms in an emergency.

“It should also be noted there is a fine for improper use of the passenger alarm when there is not a genuine emergency."

c2c runs trains from Fenchurch Street to Essex, including stops at Basildon and Southend Central.