Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Police seek identity of rail users who pulled emergency cord, left train and walked back along tracks after discovering it would miss next station

The incident happened in the Redland area of Bristol, shortly after the service left Clifton Down railway station. Photograph: Sean Smith for the Guardian

Police are trying to identify up to 200 rail passengers who, unhappy at an announcement that the train would skip the next stop, pulled the emergency cord, disembarked and walked back down the track.

The incident happened in the Redland area of Bristol shortly after the service left Clifton Down station at 3.30pm on Saturday. Passengers had just been informed that the train would not be stopping at Redland as it was too busy.

Officers from British transport police moved the group to safety. A spokeswoman for the force said initial reports suggested 80 people were walking on the line but officers saw up to 200.

She said: “We are treating this as a trespass incident – one which caused numerous delays to services in the area and could have put lives in danger – and inquiries are currently under way to identify those involved.”

West Country Travel tweeted an image on Sunday of crowds on the line, captioned: “This is why trains were cancelled between Severn Beach & Bristol yesterday, because of students on the line at Redland.”

Julian Burnell, of Network Rail, said the actions of the passengers had endangered themselves and other train users. “Railway lines are designed for trains, not people and are inherently dangerous places.

“The actions of this group of passengers, whatever their reasons, endangered not only themselves, but also their fellow passengers. We will be investigating.”

A spokesman for Great Western Railway said: “These individuals put themselves and others at great risk, and inconvenienced hundreds of other people.

“The railway is a hazardous environment, which is why railway trespass is a criminal offence, carrying a maximum fine of £1,000. We will be assisting BTP in their inquiries.”


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