London

First Capital Connect fined over stranded passengers

  • 16 September 2013
  • From the section London

A rail firm has been fined £75,000 after passengers were stuck on a train in London for more than three hours.

The incident happened on a First Capital Connect service between St Pancras and Kentish Town stations in north London in May 2011.

The Brighton to Bedford train with 700 people on board became stuck due to power supply problems.

Sentencing at Blackfriars Crown Court, the judge said the incident was "an absolute shambles".

The judge also said there was a "litany of mistakes and poor judgements" by the firm and said the risk was "substantial".

The company pleaded guilty to a charge under section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

'Lack of care'

Some passengers who were stranded later claimed on Twitter they had been left in a tunnel with little ventilation, no water, and limited information.

Image caption People were stuck on the train for about three hours

Up to 40 passengers eventually forced open the doors and walked down the track.

Ian Prosser, director of safety at the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) said: "ORR's investigation into First Capital Connects' response to a broken down train in north London highlighted that passengers were treated with a distinct lack of care, as the company committed a catalogue of errors.

"The company left hundreds of passengers trapped on a train for three hours with no air conditioning, toilets or communication system.

"The company's response significantly increased the risk of passengers independently leaving the train on to the tracks, when the safest place for them was to stay on board until told otherwise."

The regulator said since the incident the firm had "taken steps to rectify their management of similar situations".

David Statham, First Capital Connect managing director said: "We didn't live up to our own high standards in the way we handled this event which is why we took quick and decisive action afterwards.

"We commissioned comprehensive internal and external investigations that led to a range of actions to ensure this unusual combination of events is extremely unlikely to happen again."

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