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Trapped on a train

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Jan Mayen

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In case the above link to the BBC News website doesn't work, here is the text. I'm just posting as I felt the story maybe of interest:

"Two missing 12-year-old girls were found "cold and hungry" after spending a night locked inside a train.
Amy Greenan and her friend were playing at Balloch, West Dunbartonshire, when they boarded a train to Glasgow on Friday.
They caught another train back but say they dozed off and woke to find themselves trapped at Helensburgh.
After waving to a passer-by the next morning, a conductor was alerted and unlocked the train to release them.
A spokesperson for train operator ScotRail said it was assisting British Transport Police in investigating the incident.
Amy's mother Bonnie-Louise is now demanding to know how two unaccompanied children were not spotted sooner or found when the train was checked.
"The girls shouldn't have done it, but they are children and children do stupid things," she said
"Any adults who saw two 12-year-olds getting off a train on their own should have questioned that."
The girls had been playing at a park near Balloch Station after school on Friday afternoon when they decided to board the train without a ticket.
Amy has since told her mother they planned to immediately catch another train back to Balloch from Glasgow Central, but a member of staff at a turnstile who found them without tickets "told them to go away".

'The worst night of my life'​

Amy had a mobile phone with her, but it was an old one as her usual phone had broken, and the battery was flat.
By the time the children could sneak back onto another train, the last service to Balloch had departed.
They boarded a train that passed through nearby Dumbarton but the girls say they dozed off and woke up trapped inside the carriage at Helensburgh, about eight miles from their homes.
The girls' parents alerted police that evening when they were unable to find them in the park at the agreed pick-up time.
"It was the worst night of my life - I was driving around looking for them and phoning. The police thought they may be staying with a friend," said Amy's mother.
"My dad came round and stayed up with me through the night. We finally got a call from a police sergeant at seven o'clock the next morning... to say they'd been found. "
Ms Greenan said she did not believe the children had deliberately hidden inside the train.
"I don't see where you can hide. The train must have been checked. Why weren't they found," she said.
The children raised the alarm the following morning by waving and banging on the carriage window after spotting a teenager walking, and a conductor unlocked the train.
"They were cold and hungry. The station staff got them something to eat and called the police," said Ms Greenan.
A spokesperson for ScotRail said: "We are assisting British Transport Police with this investigation."
 
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Bletchleyite

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Not a kid, but I've had to pull the egress when a Thameslink driver on a late night service (around midnight, we were aiming for the 0134 off Euston) arrived at Blackfriars to terminate there and for some reason walked off without actually releasing the doors. (I suspect some sort of SDO fault rather than him having forgotten, but it was still poor!)
 

TFN

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Not a kid, but I've had to pull the egress when a Thameslink driver on a late night service (around midnight, we were aiming for the 0134 off Euston) arrived at Blackfriars to terminate there and for some reason walked off without actually releasing the doors. (I suspect some sort of SDO fault rather than him having forgotten, but it was still poor!)
If it was the bay platforms then I am not surprised as when I travelled on those services (Pre-covid) the driver takes ages unlocking there.

I was under the assumption that the train is always checked before being taken out of service.
 

Journeyman

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I was under the assumption that the train is always checked before being taken out of service.
It should be, which makes me wonder if these kids were hiding because they didn't have tickets.
 

Bletchleyite

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I was under the assumption that the train is always checked before being taken out of service.

In my case it wasn't. We walked a fair way down looking for staff before deciding to use the egress. I told a member of platform staff that we had (so it could be reset) and he seemed baffled but acknowledged that the doors seemingly hadn't been released.

It should be, which makes me wonder if these kids were hiding because they didn't have tickets.

Distinctly possible :)
 

yorkie

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I also don't get this bit:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-56476935
"Any adults who saw two 12-year-olds getting off a train on their own should have questioned that."

I don't understand the relevance of this claim, nor why they think people would question that?!

Is this a misquote; did she mean to say something about remaining on the train, I wonder?

This is also a bit odd:

The girls had been playing at a park near Balloch Station after school on Friday afternoon when they decided to board the train without a ticket.
Amy has since told her mother they planned to immediately catch another train back to Balloch from Glasgow Central, but a member of staff at a turnstile who found them without tickets "told them to go away".
Glasgow is a long way from Balloch for them to go if they just wanted a random train ride; it sounds to me like they were wanting to visit Glasgow. If they just randomloy got on a train with the intention of coming straight back, they'd have got off at somewhere like Alexandra, Renton, or any number of stations.

Also if they simply changed platforms at Glasgow Queen St, I don't think they would encounter a ticket check, would they?

Then there's this:
By the time the children could sneak back onto another train, the last service to Balloch had departed.
It sounds to me like they didn't inform staff that they simply wanted to get back home; if they had done, surely they would have been put on a train to Balloch instead of having to sneak on?

There is a lot that doesn't appear to add up here.

Incidentally, the last train to Balloch was at 2141 so they were either on the 2147 or 2217 to Helensburgh, both formed of 334 units.

The mother claims there is nowhere to hide, but these trains do have toilets and also I believe there would also be space between the seat backs of adjacent bays (not that I am suggesting they did hide; we don't know, but I am saying it cannot be ruled out so easily!)
 
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Bald Rick

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I loved this quote from one of the girls’ mothers:

“Any adults who saw two 12-year-olds getting off a train on their own should have questioned that."

Firstly, I’m fairly sure it’s quite common for 12 year olds to get the train unaccompanied.
Secondly, the trains are running around fairly empty at present, so it’s entirely possible no one saw them
Thirdly, they didn’t get off the train!
 

Journeyman

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I also don't get this bit:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-56476935


I don't understand the relevance of this claim, nor why they think people would question that?!

Is this a misquote; did she mean to say something about remaining on the train, I wonder?
Exactly, I'd consider seeing kids that age on public transport to be completely normal, and I would only intervene or report the situation if (a) they were causing trouble or (b) were in distress for some reason. Even then, I'd be very careful, because a man in his 40s paying attention to young girls looks extremely dodgy.

Looks to me like a parent trying to blame (sue?) ScotRail because their kid has done something stupid.
 

HarryL

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I don't understand the relevance of this claim, nor why they think people would question that?!

Is this a misquote; did she mean to say something about remaining on the train, I wonder?
I assume she meant that the train staff should have noticed them both and kept an eye on them to make sure they were safe? They got onto a train to Glasgow for whatever reason and then turned around at some point to get the train back when they say they fell asleep.

Sounds to me like they didn't have tickets and hid in some form and are saying they fell asleep as a cover (kid logic)?

Edit: Just noticed this part,
Amy has since told her mother they planned to immediately catch another train back to Balloch from Glasgow Central, but a member of staff at a turnstile who found them without tickets "told them to go away".
This'll probably be the point where the mother expected them to be questioned. I feel that's kind of a reasonable expectation, a big city station, two kids come to the gates on their own without tickets, go away shouldn't have been the response.
 
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yorkie

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I assume she meant that the train staff should have noticed them both and kept an eye on them to make sure they were safe?
I don't know if the on board staff (ticket inspectors) are walking through the train during this current time or not (I believe they aren't checking tickets), but even if they were, when the train was in service I doubt they'd think anything is particularly amiss.

I think that the main issue really is whether or not a member of staff walked through after the train had terminated, and if they did, how they didn't spot them (if the kids weren't hiding and were simply sleeping as claimed, they should be easy to spot).

Do Scotrail 334s have CCTV?

There is also perhaps a question about exactly what conversation took place at Glasgow Queen Street and what the girls were doing there (were they trying to catch a train back or were they trying to exit and whether they explained their predicament to staff; the way the article is worded suggests not, but if they were honest to staff at GLQ, then I'd argue the staff would have had a duty of care)
 

Journeyman

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I don't know if the on board staff (ticket inspectors) are walking through the train during this current time or not (I believe they aren't checking tickets), but even if they were, when the train was in service I doubt they'd think anything is particularly amiss. I think that the only issue really is whether or not a member of staff walked through after the train had terminated, and if they did, how they didn't spot them (if the kids weren't hiding and were simply sleeping as claimed, they should be easy to spot).

Do Scotrail 334s have CCTV?
I've travelled on the Airdrie to Bathgate line a few times recently, and have seen one or two staff sitting adjacent to cabs, but they're not patrolling trains or checking tickets at all.

I believe the 334s do have CCTV.
 

Huntergreed

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I don't know if the on board staff (ticket inspectors) are walking through the train during this current time or not (I believe they aren't checking tickets), but even if they were, when the train was in service I doubt they'd think anything is particularly amiss. I think that the only issue really is whether or not a member of staff walked through after the train had terminated, and if they did, how they didn't spot them (if the kids weren't hiding and were simply sleeping as claimed, they should be easy to spot).

Do Scotrail 334s have CCTV?
No ticket inspections since last March whatsoever on Scotrail services, I've often stayed on a train at a terminus to take the return journey. The ticket inspectors are getting paid to simply sit on the trains and sit on their phones.

There certainly are CCTV cameras on 334's, however I don't believe these can be accessed through the TMS so I presume they are used for recording only.
 

PupCuff

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Yeah, I certainly wouldn't question two 12 year olds travelling unaccompanied by train. Looking back I reckon I was probably about eight or ten or so when I started being able to travel about independently, though of course I'd been shown how to buy a ticket, how to use the rail network safely, and how to ask railway staff if I got myself into bother.

Trains should be checked before they come out of service, but sometimes there's mistakes on the conductors' dockets not showing to do it, sometimes there are people who intentionally hide on trains to get themselves a ride to the depot or whatever, sometimes the staff member who is supposed to do it just doesn't. It isn't great that they were missed, and no doubt ScotRail will end up with their knuckles rapped over it, but they aren't the first and they won't be the last.
 

yorkie

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.... on the conductors' dockets not showing to do it,....
In this case I believe it would be on (or not on) the driver's docket, as the ticket inspectors are dedicated to that role and not responsible for the operation of the train.
 

Journeyman

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Yeah, I certainly wouldn't question two 12 year olds travelling unaccompanied by train. Looking back I reckon I was probably about eight or ten or so when I started being able to travel about independently, though of course I'd been shown how to buy a ticket, how to use the rail network safely, and how to ask railway staff if I got myself into bother.
Yeah - my first solo short train journey was at about ten or eleven, and a year or two after that, I was regularly exploring just about every corner of London on One Day Travelcards. It gave me a lot of confidence in working out how to get around, and stay safe - my parents did a good job of telling me what to do if I ever got into trouble, and I'd been on trains with my mum regularly since I was tiny, so I knew what to expect.

I get the feeling here that neither the kids involved, nor their parents, were familiar with trains, so the girls probably got into a panic and as a result did some stupid things. I'm guessing they probably got driven everywhere, and so didn't know what to do if things went wrong. It also sounds like the parents weren't aware of the normality of seeing groups of kids travelling around on trains, under normal circumstances at least.
 

61653 HTAFC

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Yeah, something doesn't add up here... though I can totally understand that "kid logic" would lead to the kids hiding from staff only to find themselves trapped on a train. But assuming that the word "off" in the quote from the parent should be "on", I'm still wondering what planet said parent is on. Plenty of children of that age and younger use trains to get to and from school, and I certainly wouldn't bat an eyelid at high-school age children being on a train.
This and the recent Middleton Railway "story" makes me particularly sceptical of any story of this nature. In the end the truth will hopefully come out. I can't imagine that any staff member would miss two sleeping kids unless those kids were well-hidden.
 

Journeyman

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Yeah, something doesn't add up here... though I can totally understand that "kid logic" would lead to the kids hiding from staff only to find themselves trapped on a train. But assuming that the word "off" in the quote from the parent should be "on", I'm still wondering what planet said parent is on. Plenty of children of that age and younger use trains to get to and from school, and I certainly wouldn't bat an eyelid at high-school age children being on a train.
This and the recent Middleton Railway "story" makes me particularly sceptical of any story of this nature. In the end the truth will hopefully come out. I can't imagine that any staff member would miss two sleeping kids unless those kids were well-hidden.
Agreed, I suspect the kids knew they were doing something very stupid, and are attempting to avoid trouble by giving their parents a rather selective version of events.
 

PupCuff

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In this case I believe it would be on (or not on) the driver's docket, as the ticket inspectors are dedicated to that role and not responsible for the operation of the train.
Fair. I've managed to dodge DOO (so far) :smile:
 

Egg Centric

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I doubt the parent is trying to "cause trouble". It seems like she'd been - fully understandably - advertising the missing girls on social media before they were located, and once they were I guess had no option but to provide an update. The trouble makers are the media.

As for those amazed that a story by twelve year old girls doesn't add up... well have you ever met one?
 

61653 HTAFC

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I doubt the parent is trying to "cause trouble". It seems like she'd been - fully understandably - advertising the missing girls on social media before they were located, and once they were I guess had no option but to provide an update. The trouble makers are the media.

As for those amazed that a story by twelve year old girls doesn't add up... well have you ever met one?
I don't think this parent is "trying to cause trouble" in the same way that the gentleman from Leeds was clearly out for attention, but I do think their idea that most people would find it unusual to see a couple of 12-year-olds on a train without an adult is naive in the extreme. Of course having just spent the night worried about their daughter it's understandable, but how do they think kids all across the country cope with using the train to get to school every day? They certainly aren't all accompanied by their parents.
 

yorkie

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As for those amazed that a story by twelve year old girls doesn't add up... well have you ever met one?
I know some that are as sensible as any adult I know, while others I wouldn't trust in the slightest!
 

Energy

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"Any adults who saw two 12-year-olds getting off a train on their own should have questioned that."
They do know that many kids use a train to get to school?
 

Geeves

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I dont know about Scotrail but certainly at my home station if two girls aged 12 arrived with no money they would be let through and onto the train as part of a duty of care situation, staff would be informed to make sure they got off at the right station. I cant see why that barrier would be any different if they had just approached. They would be let out aswell, you couldnt just hold them hostage.
 

Journeyman

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I dont know about Scotrail but certainly at my home station if two girls aged 12 arrived with no money they would be let through and onto the train as part of a duty of care situation, staff would be informed to make sure they got off at the right station. I cant see why that barrier would be any different if they had just approached. They would be let out aswell, you couldnt just hold them hostage.
That would apply everywhere, which suggests to me that the kids concerned have deliberately avoided any contact with staff.
 

HarryL

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That would apply everywhere, which suggests to me that the kids concerned have deliberately avoided any contact with staff.
It says they reached Glasgow Central and went upto the ticket barriers, which if I recall correctly are on the ends of the platforms are they not? So if they went to go look at information screens to find the train home, they'd have had to try and get through. I do feel this is the point a staff member should have raised something to check what they were doing at a station like this without tickets.

Looking at it in more detail suggests they probably got on this train as a dare or something, got to Glasgow and didn't know what to from there so probably panicked.
 

74A

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Does the last train of the night stable at Helensborough Station ? If it does perhaps it was not checked as it was not going to the depot.
 

yorkie

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It says they reached Glasgow Central and went upto the ticket barriers, which if I recall correctly are on the ends of the platforms are they not? So if they went to go look at information screens to find the train home, they'd have had to try and get through. I do feel this is the point a staff member should have raised something to check what they were doing at a station like this without tickets.

Looking at it in more detail suggests they probably got on this train as a dare or something, got to Glasgow and didn't know what to from there so probably panicked.
Two things that don't add up there
1) Trains from Balloch don't go to Central; true it's an easy change, but if they did that, it sounds like they wanted to visit something/someone at GLC specifically
2) GLC low level platforms are an island, so definitely no need to go upstairs when changing trains, or to look at departure screens.

...perhaps it was not checked as it was not going to the depot.
Maybe not; either the girls hid or the train was not checked; I'd imagine the CCTV should clear that up quite promptly.
 

Journeyman

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Two things that don't add up there
1) Trains from Balloch don't go to Central; true it's an easy change, but if they did that, it sounds like they wanted to visit something/someone at GLC specifically
2) GLC low level platforms are an island, so definitely no need to go upstairs when changing trains, or to look at departure screens.


Maybe not; either the girls hid or the train was not checked; I'd imagine the CCTV should clear that up quite promptly.
They could well have gone to Queen Street - they could well have got mixed up. Also, if they were unfamiliar with trains - which they may well have been - they may not have known that trains from Central to Balloch return from the opposite face of the island. It sounds to me like panic and lack of familiarity with trains and geography led them to do some very silly things, and we're not getting an accurate picture.
 

philthetube

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I suspect CCTV will clear everything up, both Scotrail and the BTP will fully investigate this., checking stations as well as trains.
 

LowLevel

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In this case I believe it would be on (or not on) the driver's docket, as the ticket inspectors are dedicated to that role and not responsible for the operation of the train.

More likely to be the station staff disposing a DOO train at a stabling station. I think there is a night supervisor at Helensburgh responsible for stabled trains.
 
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