Southeastern passengers stranded for three hours on a broken train in heavy snow near Lewisham station risked walking on live tracks in a desperate attempt to get home.
Commuters fled the broken-down train after one furious traveller pressed the emergency button, causing the train doors to open.
Passengers criticised the company, saying that the train, which was only 200 metres from the station, had no heating, lights and working toilets.
my mother has just wet herself because there is no toilets on this train, this is inhumane. She has been totally humiliated by your criminal behaivour. How do you expect people to cope on a train that is not safe 4 the public.
— Brownhouse (@jaybrownhouse) March 2, 2018
For safety reasons, Southeastern were forced to turn the power off on lines, which delayed journeys for up to six hours. The incident was the worst to affect the Eastlondonlines area during the heavy snow.
Commuters on three other trains also began to leave their carriages following confusion between emergency services, Southeastern and fellow passengers.
Passengers ended up kicking down toilet doors and urinating in cups in complete darkness because of the long delays and lack of power.
A little boy is having to pee in a bottle right now because there is no working toilets. This is inhumane. Where is the communication and where are the emergency services to help us?
— Katie Bradley (@ktbradders) March 2, 2018
The police and Southeastern issued warnings, due to worries that travellers trespassing on the tracks could be hit by trains or electrocuted by the live tracks. Eventually, they had to delay or cancel a number of services to deal with the issue.
British Transport Police released a statement, saying: “This week we have seen a number of incidents of people self-evacuating from trains stranded due to exceptional weather. Self-evacuating from trains is never a good idea as it places you and others at significant risk.
“Self-evacuating from trains is never a good idea as it places you and others at significant risk.
“Further delays are also inevitable if people self-evacuate as power has to be turned off for safety reasons.”
Emergency services later helped people off the trains and along the tracks to Lewisham station.
Southeastern issued an apology to the delayed and stranded passengers, saying: “We will review in detail how we can best compensate those passengers who were affected, and right now our focus is on getting as many of our passengers as home as possible.”
After over 5 hours trapped on a train, joyously arrive at Lewisham Station. What do you think to? Cups of coffee and water? Someone to help with our onward journey?
— Jo Haseltine (@Jo_Haseltine) March 2, 2018
Customers have been left angry after the incident, with petitions being drafted to put Southeastern under investigation for the failure in their service.
A petition to Parliament asking for an investigation can be found here.
The Met Office has issued two yellow warnings across the country, as rail companies, including Southeastern, run amended services with thousands of trains being cancelled.