Portsmouth couple outraged after train lighting grille falls on them – and company offers them a fiver in compensation

The lighting grille which fell from the train ceiling
The lighting grille which fell from the train ceiling

AFTER a light fixture fell on to a man in his wheelchair and his fiancee on a train, the couple were left outraged at being offered £5 in compensation.

James Lang and his wife-to-be Caroline Pearce were travelling from Southampton to Portsmouth on a Great Western Railway route when a light fixture fell off the train ceiling on to them.

James said: ‘It was such a shock when this big metal light guard just fell on to us and hit me in the shoulder and Caroline on the head.

‘We were very shaken up by it as you don’t expect that to happen but one of the other passengers went off to get some help.’

A train guard returned to help the couple who are from Portsmouth.

James, 44, said: ‘The guard said she would get us some gift vouchers and came back with £5 each and then took the light fitting away.

‘For us we thought that was really insulting and all we could think was what if a child or baby had been underneath when it fell. We won’t be using the vouchers.’

Caroline added: ‘I had a headache for two days after it happened and it is an experience that has made us nervous.’

A spokesman for Great Western Railway (GWR) said: ‘We are aware of an incident where a lighting grille has come loose and struck a passenger.

‘Fortunately, no injuries were sustained and the customer continued his journey without requiring further assistance from our on board staff.

‘We take the safety of our passengers very seriously and are looking into this incident in detail.’

The News understands an accident report was completed at the time but GWR says it is not aware of a complaint being lodged.

The pair are also now worried for the future following a long-running row of the role of guards on trains.

James said: ‘There have been so many strikes recently all about having guardless trains but if the guard had not been there we would not have known what to do.

‘That applies to any situation or incident on any train service for anyone, as if there is not a guard the only worker would be the driver and you can’t go and speak to them if you have a problem so what on earth should you do.

‘It is quite a worry for future train journeys really.’

GWR said it had not been affected by the recent strikes and its services from Cardiff to Portsmouth and Southampton operate with staff on board.