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Old 15th November 2012, 03:27   #135
Join Date: 9 Jan 2012
Posts: 872

Although the full story hasn't been published yet (which may alter my views on this particular incident), the situation the young girl was in up until she fell between the the train and platform is all too common when intoxicated passengers are involved.

This is especially true on Friday and Saturday nights when you have a large number of very dunk people getting on/off trains.

Some get great pleasure out of pushing their mates out of the doors just as they are closing, which then means the doors need to be re-released to let that person back on and consequently interrupting and delaying dispatch. This can happen at numerous stations on the same train or even numerous times at the same station and it usually only stops when I physically take the time to walk down to the doors the group is at and give them a ticking off which includes a warning that they will all be removed and refused travel if it happens again.

Others play a similar game where they will voluntarily get off the train when the doors are released, walk a few meters away from the train and then suddenly dash back on before the doors shut while getting cheered on by others, and they take it in turns to do it at stations until they get a ticking off or reach their destination.

The above are more a nuisance/cause of delays than a serious risk of fatality, although an injury is possible from them falling while the train is stationary.

Then you have the traditional dropping pants and waving backside in the air on the platform for the amusement of passengers/mates on the train. This same class of passengers will also do other silly things like have their nose or lips pushed against the outside of the train window as its about to depart and no matter how many times you blow your whistle or shout stand back they remain there.

These are the passengers who are of great concern to all frontline staff, they put their own safety/life at risk as well as our careers.

As a Guard, we have to make a decision to try and keep the railway moving or cause massive delays both to our own trains and any services sharing the line behind us. I have given 2 on the buzzer while a drunk(s) are in contact with the train just as the girl is in that picture. I then also make sure I have my head out the cab window and the idiots in full view at all time with one hand on the brake lever. So when I see that picture, I can't help but feel that had this girl been travelling in a different part of the country, I could have been the Guard on trial.

Should I be giving 2 on the buzzer with drunks touching the train? NO. The fact that I don't hear of extensive delays caused by other Guards in similar positions tells me I can't be alone in giving the RA with drunks touching the train.

The only alternative is to have a stand off with the idiots on the platform while waiting for BTP. This could result in them walking away, or they as is usually the case then start to abuse the member of staff who dared to challenge their behaviour.

Alot of people won't accept this as a reason, but if all Railway staff did exactly as we were supposed to then the railway would experience far more delays than it currently does.

Here's a incident I experienced a week ago.

I was working the last train on a particular line from origin to destination on a Friday night, a distance of around 65 miles. We have roughly 20 minutes between leaving the origin station and the first booked call.

I attempted to make my way through the 3 carriage train which at any other time of day will take me around 15 minutes with twice as many passengers on.

However on weekend nights in my experience a full ticket check takes 3 times longer due to the number of passengers who are too drunk to efficiently locate their ticket or go down the route of being abusive to get out of paying.

I soon came across a group of 5 drunk males aged in their mid 20s. They gave me the usual run around of pretending to sleep, then claiming to have lost their ticket, having no money on them ........etc. Unknown to them there was a off duty Civil Police officer sat behind them. After a nod from me, she had a word with them and convinced them that paying was their best option.

I relieved them of a small amount of cash each and started walking away when 2 of them decided to start shouting all sorts of abusive and threatening language including one of them getting up and moving towards me with one his mates holding him back.

As we were fast approaching the first stop and the one where these lads were getting off I continued to walk away for my own safety, however this meant going towards the front as opposed to the back to avoid walking past the group.

On this particular traction type, I can release the doors from any of the 3 carriages, however that is when I feel most vulnerable while stood on the platform as you just find yourself waiting for the angered male(s) to approach you.

So I went into the leading cab and asked the driver to release the doors (his side) and then we both stepped on the platform, now 1.5 carriages away from where the lads should be alighting. They got off with 3 of them shouting, swearing and physically threatening somebody else in that same carriage. I then pressed the door close button while the 3 lads were still shouting and threatening this unknown victim and they were punching and kicking the side of the train.

Was I going to approach them and ask them to stand clear? No.
Both the driver and I got back on, and I asked him to keep his an eye on the lads while we pulled away to ensure one of them didn't end up on the track.

Now when you read some of the comments on this thread that say that railway staff have a duty of care and are FULLY responsible for the passengers' safety, it makes you wonder whether I'd be held responsible had one of those lads been killed while we pulled out of the station.

The truth of the matter is, whilst we do have a duty of care towards the safety of passengers, the passengers themselves should also bear some of that responsibility towards their own safe being.

For anyone still reading and who isn't yet bored, the lads that were shouting and threatening on the platform were in fact directing it towards the off duty officer, so much so that she actually missed her stop because unfortunately she wanted the same station as the lads got off at and she felt threatened enough to miss her stop knowing there are no more trains back. Our control arranged for her to be taxi'd home from the next stop as I felt responsible for getting her involved. These are the sorts of incidents/people we have to deal with whenever large amounts of alcohol have been consumed.
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