Southern rail bosses criticised after football fans '˜caught in chaos'

The rail regulator is being urged to launch an investigation after soccer fans were left 'stranded' when Southern Railway trains were cancelled following an evening game.

Brighton Football Club said there was “chaos” at the end of its game against Aston Villa on Friday because of several “late and unannounced” cancellations of services from nearby Falmer station.

Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union general secretary Mick Cash called for an inquiry, saying: “The dangerous chaos at Falmer after the game on was entirely down to the sheer managerial incompetence of Southern Rail.

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“They were running short formations and cancelling services on the hoof due to their pathetic lack of advanced planning for this major fixture.

“The attempt to lump the blame on frontline staff who worked flat out to try and keep passengers safe is disgusting.”

Brighton FC chief executive Paul Barber said: “We would like to thank our fans, but also the supporters of Aston Villa, for their patience and understanding in frustrating circumstances.

“I would also like to thank our operations team for their hard work in very testing circumstances, and Brighton & Hove Buses for their assistance.

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“It’s totally unacceptable from Southern Rail to leave passengers stranded in this way and we will be demanding a full explanation from them as to why they so badly let down supporters of both clubs.”

Many fans decided to walk home, while one slept in a car park.

A Southern spokesman said: “We apologise to Brighton & Hove Albion fans who were considerably inconvenienced on Friday night while waiting for trains home after the match from Falmer station.

“Unfortunately, we were unable to provide our usual additional service for home games due to a temporary shortage of train crew.

“We worked through the evening to try to provide cover for these trains, but we were unable to on this occasion.”