Impatient passengers should be prosecuted

Ian Brady

CLIVE SMITH: Who you are shouldn’t make any difference to sentence

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We can fully understand how frustrating it must have been for passengers stuck for hours on trains heading to Hampshire from London.

They wanted to get home after a long day and grew tired of waiting after delays were caused by an attempted theft of cabling at Farnborough that in turn led to signal failure.

But in deciding to get off stopped trains and walk up the track in an attempt to return to stations, all they did was add another 90 minutes to the hours that fellow commuters were stuck.

That’s because Network Rail, once it knew people were leaving trains, had no choice but to switch off the power. Safety had to be paramount.

The actions of those passengers who let their impatience get the better of them while the power was on weren’t clever. And they were potentially dangerous too.

Because experts point out that even when the power may seem to have been turned off, some parts of the track can remain electrified.

So it was extremely irresponsible of all those passengers who became so fed up that they put themselves at great potential risk.

Superintendent Andrew Ball of the British Transport Police says today how officers spoke to a group of passengers who had left a train and walked back to Woking along the tracks.

They tried to impress upon them the potential danger in which they had placed themselves.

But was this enough? We don’t think so. These people were not supervised or marshalled by train staff. They just decided to take matters into their own hands and risked harm as well as causing further disruption.

That affected the many other passengers who were more sensible and stayed put inside carriages.

South West Trains may need to look at how it can keep passengers better informed about delays and the reason for them.

But if it’s at all practical, we think those people who selfishly and thoughtlessly walked down the tracks should be prosecuted.

Maybe that would make them and others think again should the same situation arise in the future.

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