Drinking alcohol on a station platform - is it permitted?

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CaptainHaddock

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I was recently changing trains at a small staffed Northern station and, with 20 minutes to kill, decided to open one of the cans of craft ale I'd bought from Lidl. As I happily supped away on the open platform I was approached by a large man in a fluorescent jacket and asked if I was drinking alcohol. When I confirmed I was he insisted that I had to immediately stop as it was forbidden to drink alcohol on a station platform. I asked him when this new law had come in and he said it had always been the case that drinking alcohol was forbidden on stations. To cut a long story short we had a disagreement which ended with him storming off in a huff.

Now as I understand it there is no law against drinking alcohol on a station platform. Yes, you can be refused entry to a station if intoxicated, but there's nothing to stop you having a drink whilst waiting for your train. Curiously though, I can find no definitive confirmation of this fact online. On Northern's own website's FAQs they posit the question "can I drink alcohol on trains or at stations" but don't actually answer it with regard to stations.


So is there somewhere online I can find confirmation that, so long as you're not intoxicated, you can drink alcohol on a station platform as I change at this station frequently and will probably run into this security jobsworth again!
 
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I’ve had no problems with having a beer on a platform. Indeed I did that just yesterday when waiting for a train at Rowley Regis (a WM station) with a member of station staff going about their litter duties nearby. Nothing was said.
 

dk1

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Not at Norwich anymore. It has been classed as in the City No Alcohol Zone. It has to be drunk inside station outlets (closed currently) or onboard.
 

Horizon22

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I think this is dependent on specific stations, but most would be fine. As @dk1 says many have been classified by the local council as alochol-free zones. TfL Rail don't allow drinking on trains (although I've seen plenty of people with open cans) which I presume is in line with the wider TfL underground guidance.

Edit: Their Conditions of Carriage actually states train stations to which will incorporate a significant chunk of former GA and GWR stations:

2.6 On our buses, trams and trains, in our bus and rail stations and on tram platforms, you must not:
• consume alcohol
• be in possession of an open container of alcohol
 

Llandudno

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At York station, the real ale bar has an outdoor seating area on the platform.
 

Rail Blues

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Or you could have saved yourself an argument by simply saying 'it's an alcohol-free beer' and let them splutter.

It does seem incredibly daft given that countless stations have bars and pubs on them.
 

Aictos

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Not at Norwich anymore. It has been classed as in the City No Alcohol Zone. It has to be drunk inside station outlets (closed currently) or onboard.


St Alban's City is the same too and had been for a number of years I believe although @ChiefPlanner and @Bald Rick can clarify how long it's been in place there.
 

HSP 2

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At York station, the real ale bar has an outdoor seating area on the platform.

Same as Sheffield and Doncaster. I think that Crewe may as well.

To the OP when you next go to the same station have a look around to see if there are any notices to say no alcohol to be consumed on this station.
 

paddingtonGWR

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Clearly he was a bit of a jobsworth as he returned shortly afterwards to say I should be wearing a mask, so when I told him he was wrong again as I wasn't in an enclosed public space he got even more angry!

Now as I understand it there is no law against drinking alcohol on a station platform. Yes, you can be refused entry to a station if intoxicated, but there's nothing to stop you having a drink whilst waiting for your train. Curiously though, I can find no definitive confirmation of this fact online. On Northern's own website's FAQs they posit the question "can I drink alcohol on trains or at stations" but don't actually answer it with regard to stations.


So is there somewhere online I can find confirmation that, so long as you're not intoxicated, you can drink alcohol on a station platform as I change at this station frequently and will probably run into this security jobsworth again!
Well done for standing your ground.

Next time video it and upload.:D
 

Impey0711

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I opened a can at Leicester last week while waiting for my next train no problem whatsoever
 

43066

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I was recently changing trains at a small staffed Northern station and, with 20 minutes to kill, decided to open one of the cans of craft ale I'd bought from Lidl. As I happily supped away on the open platform I was approached by a large man in a fluorescent jacket and asked if I was drinking alcohol. When I confirmed I was he insisted that I had to immediately stop as it was forbidden to drink alcohol on a station platform. I asked him when this new law had come in and he said it had always been the case that drinking alcohol was forbidden on stations. To cut a long story short we had a disagreement which ended with him storming off in a huff.

Sounds like a standard jobsworth making things up to indulge his own prejudices. There’s no general prohibition on drinking alcohol on platforms or on trains apart from specific locations (TFL stations and services) and possibly some others as mentioned above.

Obviously this is subject to not being intoxicated (a bylaw breach) or making a nuisance of yourself, but a quiet can between changing trains should be fine.
 

DarloRich

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There is no general prohibition on drinking on platforms but it could be prohibited by local control zones/local legislation. An example for York dealing with Public Space Protection Orders: https://www.york.gov.uk/PSPOs#:~:text=PSPOs in York can include,officer or other authorised person.

York City Council: PSPOs in York can include Alcohol Restriction Zones (ARZ); in these areas it's an offence if you do not cease to consume alcohol and/or surrender alcohol when requested to do so by a police officer or other authorised person.
At York station, the real ale bar has an outdoor seating area on the platform.

That isn't part of the platform - it will be leased to the licensee. You cant just take your pint and supp it on the platforms. I believe the station is within the City Walls "PSPO" refereed to above.
 
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Sprinter107

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I've never heard of this. I know certain stations may have a restriction. Saying that, I dont kniw of there are many of those. The only station that I know is restricted and that is Hagley. But there is a notice informing of such.
 

DarloRich

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I've never heard of this. I know certain stations may have a restriction. Saying that, I dont kniw of there are many of those. The only station that I know is restricted and that is Hagley. But there is a notice informing of such.

There are loads of PSPO's through the country. There are several near me.
 

PR1Berske

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If anyone here uses Untappd, you'll know there's a "badge" you can earn for checking in beer at railway stations or on trains. I'd like to earn one of those and then put my can in a bin (and then put on my mask)
 

Bletchleyite

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There are loads of PSPO's through the country. There are several near me.

Willen Lake was the one I was using as an example, by the way. The PSPO has been there for years but they have decided to start enforcing it. Cynics have suggested that it's because the pub is back open and they want it to make more money, but there is also a known behaviour and littering issue pretty much only related to groups gathering to drink alcohol.

I suspect some people may well disguise the alcohol, e.g. put vodka into Coke bottles, but that will still help the littering issue by removing the glass.
 

johntea

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I suspect the 'large man in a fluorescent jacket' was one of the agency revenue staff, who often think they are the boss...nothing new sadly
 

CaptainHaddock

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Thanks for the replies so far.

So to sum up, there is no hard-and-fast, "You must not drink alcohol on a station platform" byelaw across the network but individual TOCs and local councils can introduce their own restrictions if they wish?
 
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PR1Berske

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Thanks for the replies so far.

So to sum up, there is no hard-and-fast, "You must not drink alcohol on a station platform" across the network but indvidual TOCs and local councils can introduce their own restrictions if they wish?
In short, yes.
 

High Dyke

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That isn't part of the platform - it will be leased to the licensee. You cant just take your pint and supp it on the platforms. I believe the station is within the City Walls "PSPO" refereed to above.
As is the case on other stations. I sat enjoying a beer at Grantham last week, seated in the area defined for the Whistle stop bar. One gentleman was requested to to return to the designated area after walking off along the platform with his pint. He fully complied without any fuss.
 

43066

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Thanks for the replies so far.

So to sum up, there is no hard-and-fast, "You must not drink alcohol on a station platform" across the network but indvidual TOCs and local councils can introduce their own restrictions if they wish?

Basically, yes.

Some such as TFL (and possibly Merseyrail?) have specific bylaws preventing alcohol consumption on their services or premises. The local council restrictions mentioned above must actually be the TOC/NR agreeing to implement the councils’ restrictions on their premises, because stations are not council property.
 

tbwbear

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Now as I understand it there is no law against drinking alcohol on a station platform. Yes, you can be refused entry to a station if intoxicated, but there's nothing to stop you having a drink whilst waiting for your train. Curiously though, I can find no definitive confirmation of this fact online. On Northern's own website's FAQs they posit the question "can I drink alcohol on trains or at stations" but don't actually answer it with regard to stations.

I would have thought that the fact they ask themselves the question about trains and stations - and then they later claim that the intoxication exception applies to trains and stations, pretty much proves it is allowed at stations as well. Unless it is specifically prohibited it is allowed etc... Their FAQ certainly needs editing.

If the "jobsworth" is unsure of they details of which law it is they think they are enforcing, a very gentle "if you yourself are not sure, shall we call a constable?" (on the understanding that it would be him that would be doing the calling) usually helps. I did this with a Network Rail guy when he suggested I needed ID in order to take a picture of a train at Paddington. He just walked away.
 
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Dave W

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Basically, yes.

Some such as TFL (and possibly Merseyrail?) have specific bylaws preventing alcohol consumption on their services or premises. The local council restrictions mentioned above must actually be the TOC/NR agreeing to implement the council’s restriction on their premises, because stations are not council property.

I'd be interested to know if some of the PSPOs as outlined by DarloRich and others include railway staff as "nominated" people who are allowed by law to tell someone to cease drinking. The link to the York examples only refer to police and neighbourhood enforcement officers.
 
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I've never heard of this. I know certain stations may have a restriction. Saying that, I dont kniw of there are many of those. The only station that I know is restricted and that is Hagley. But there is a notice informing of such.

for those who aren’t aware - this would be due to the station splitting a local school and some playing fields in half with access to the school directly from the platform.
 

43066

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I'd be interested to know if some of the PSPOs as outlined by DarloRich and others include railway staff as "nominated" people who are allowed by law to tell someone to cease drinking. The link to the York examples only refer to police and neighbourhood enforcement officers.

It’s more that the railway is private property, so if the TOC /NR have imposed a requirement not to drink at a particular location (whether that’s due to following a council’s policy or implementing dry trains, for example) then staff are within their rights to instruct you to stop drinking. If you refuse you can be required to leave (and forcibly removed) in the same way as you can be asked to leave any other private property.
 

Bletchleyite

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It’s more that the railway is private property, so if the TOC /NR have imposed a requirement not to drink at a particular location (whether that’s due to following a council’s policy or implementing dry trains, for example) then staff are within their rights to instruct you to stop drinking. If you refuse you can be required to leave (and forcibly removed) in the same way as you can be asked to leave any other private property.

It might even be more than that. "Trespass on the railway" is criminal - does that include trespass (i.e. remaining without consent) on a platform, or just being on the track?
 

Dave W

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It’s more that the railway is private property, so if the TOC /NR have imposed a requirement not to drink at a particular location (whether that’s due to following a council’s policy or implementing dry trains, for example) then staff are within their rights to instruct you to stop drinking. If you refuse you can be required to leave (and forcibly removed) in the same way as you can be asked to leave any other private property.
Fair point, thanks.

for those who aren’t aware - this would be due to the station splitting a local school and some playing fields in half with access to the school directly from the platform.
I used to think I'd seen it all until I got on a Birmingham-bound train from Stourbridge one Saturday night that had started at Kidderminster. It was already carnage! The following 30 odd minutes were "interesting".
 

tbwbear

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It might even be more than that. "Trespass on the railway" is criminal - does that include trespass (i.e. remaining without consent) on a platform, or just being on the track?

From the NR website -

Certain parts of the railway, including stations, underpasses and level crossings, are open to the public. But when people go onto the tracks, embankments or other areas, they are trespassing.
 

43066

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It might even be more than that. "Trespass on the railway" is criminal - does that include trespass (i.e. remaining without consent) on a platform, or just being on the track?

Good point, yes it does.

The way that would work is that the public have an implied permission to access stations and other public areas (just as with many other private establishments such shops etc). Once you have been asked to leave and fail to do so, you are then trespassing and can be removed.

Where the railway is different to your average pub, restaurant etc. is the presence of bylaws and indeed the specific criminal offence of railway trespass which includes remaining on railway premises after having been asked to leave.

There’s a useful CPS guide below:


How often this is used in practice I don’t know, most usually the BTP ask people to leave and only take things further if they keep coming back and make a nuisance of themselves.
 

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Just a note to say we don't need to debate the rights and wrong of face masks and enforcement/workarounds again. Please keep it to the Covid section thank you.
 
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