Now that's what you call desperate to catch a train!

A teenage American tourist says he spent two hours clinging to the side of a long-distance train as it sped across the Australian outback in the night.

Chad Vance said he had to leap onto The Ghan as it left the station at Port Augusta, South Australia, after he had disembarked during a 40-minute stop.

He became cold and tired as the train reached speeds of up to 110km/h (70mph) on the journey to Alice Springs.

Engineer Marty Wells finally heard his yells and applied the emergency brake.

Mr Vance, quoted in the Herald Sun, said: "I feel very lucky to be alive."

He thought he had timed his return to the station accurately, but as the train pulled away he ran after it along the tracks.

When it stopped soon afterwards, he said he spent five minutes trying to attract the attention of passengers on board by shouting and banging the windows.

"People were looking at me but did nothing," he said.

The good Samaritans obviously thought he was trying to fare-dodge!

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