By Marcus Leach
The London Assembly’s Transport Committee has written to Southeastern trains seeking an explanation for the severe delays on Tuesday evening, and how passengers — some of whom left the train and walked along the tracks to escape the sweltering conditions — will be compensated.
A broken down train in Dartford caused significant delays to Southeastern services during the evening rush hour, and left passengers on one train stuck just outside Bexleyheath for almost two hours on the hottest day of the year.
Some passengers forced open the doors and walked along the tracks, which led to Network Rail having to switch off the power to the third rail, which may have compounded the disruption and delays.
“While we don’t condone passengers putting themselves at risk by leaving the train and walking on the tracks, you can hardly blame them for being desperate to get out after nearly two hours in a baking hot train carriage," Chair of the Transport Committee, Caroline Pidgeon AM, said.
“Others were left stranded at stations with little or no information about what was happening and when they could expect their train to arrive.
“We want to know whether Southeastern responded as quickly and effectively as it should, and how it will improve its response if something like this happens again.
“We also want to see the passengers involved, who went through such an ordeal, properly compensated.”
The Committee’s letter asks Southeastern for:
- A full explanation of the events surrounding the incident on 27 June 2011, including the causes of the train breakdown.
- The actions of Southeastern staff to deal with the broken down train and keep passengers on other trains and at stations informed of the length and nature of the delay.
- How those affected will be compensated.
- The procedure followed by Southeastern when passengers are stuck for long periods, particularly during periods of warmer weather.
- The process put in place to ensure any lessons are learned as a result of the incident yesterday to prevent further incidents occurring again.
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