SOUTH West Trains has apologised after a guard threw passengers out of a warm waiting room on a bitterly cold night.
As temperatures hovered around freezing on Monday evening, people whose trains had been delayed because of the snow took shelter in Havant train station’s waiting room.
But they were turfed out and the guard sat in the room himself while passengers protested outside.
One of them, Jasmine Lucking, 19, a student of fine art at Chichester University, said: ‘It was absolutely bitter.
‘Standing on the platform just for a minute your hands were blue.
‘There were lots of delays and cancellations, which is fair enough – that’s not their fault.
‘I went to the waiting room for some shelter. There were about 10 or 15 people inside.
‘At 8pm, a man came in and said we had to leave as it was time to lock up.
‘Someone said “this is ridiculous” but the man said “we can’t stay open forever”.
‘It was annoying. We had paid for our tickets and you would think that they could forget their policy and be a bit more human about it.
‘When the station man locked up he locked himself in, so he was alright.
‘One man went absolutely mental and was calling him all names under the sun.
‘It was not so much me I was concerned about, it was more the elderly lady that was there.’
Jasmine was travelling back to university from her home in Gosport when the weather took a turn for the worse.
She had to wait on the platform for about 15 minutes before her train arrived, but she said other people were waiting longer in the cold.
A spokesman for the South West Trains said: ‘We work hard to offer the best service to all passengers using our stations, particularly during times of disruption, and we’re sorry that this did not happen at Havant on Monday evening.
‘The opening hours of our waiting rooms are designed to reflect the times when the majority of passengers need to use them. However given the circumstances on Monday, it is clear that the waiting room should have stayed open for longer.‘We would like to apologise to customers affected by this.
‘This particular situation was not handled in the manner we would expect from our staff.
‘We will be issuing a strong reminder to staff to ensure that they keep waiting rooms open for longer in exceptional circumstances wherever possible.’