Train fire scare forces hundreds onto tracks

Commuters escape onto the tracks. Pic: BublzMedia/Youtube

Commuters escape onto the tracks. Pic: BublzMedia/Youtube

Hundreds of passengers on a rush hour train have been forced to escape along tracks at Hither Green station after smoke was seen billowing from underneath the rear four carriages.

The Southeastern service from Gravesend in Kent to London stopped halfway into the platform just before 8am on Tuesday after passengers pulled the emergency alarm.

Although those in the front four coaches were able to evacuate through the station, with the power switched off, passengers in the rear four coaches had to step down onto the track. They were met by staff and escorted through a nearby depot.

Around 400 commuters were travelling on the train bound for Charing Cross. There were no reports of any injuries.

Jonathan Lewis, 27, told The Evening Standard: “It started looking like it was foggy outside, then there was the sound of all the windows shutting in the carriage in front of ours.

“Then passengers poured into our carriage to escape the smoke.

“The announcement was ‘we hope to be moving shortly’, but by this point the doors were already open and people were helping each other down on to the track.”

 The train was taken out of service and the cause for the fault is being fully investigated Southeastern said.

Early indications show the smoke was due to the train’s shoe gear (through which the train draws power from the track) overheating.

A spokesman for Southeastern said: “This was an understandably distressing event for the passengers on board the train this morning. Thankfully we’ve had no reports of any passengers injured. 

“We’re fully investigating the cause of the problem to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

Bus replacement services ran between Dartford and London Bridge following the incident and lines were re-opened at 10am with some knock-on delays.


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