First Capital Connect fined £75k for safety breaches on stranded Brighton to Bedford train (From The Argus)
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First Capital Connect fined £75k for safety breaches on stranded Brighton to Bedford train
A train company was ordered to pay more than £100,000 after failing to protect the safety of 700 stranded passengers.
First Capital Connect (FCC) treated the passengers with a “distinct lack of care” when a Brighton to Bedford service was stranded for three hours in north London on May 26, 2011, according to the rail regulator.
Passengers were not given accurate information, ventilation or toilet facilities and were forced to call National Rail Enquiries for updates.
Inaccurate information and poor conditions on board resulted in many abandoning the train.
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The company was fined £75,000 and ordered to pay costs of £27,718 after a prosecution brought by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR).
Ian Prosser, the regulator’s director of safety, said: “Our investigation highlighted that passengers were treated with a distinct lack of care, as the company committed a catalogue of errors.
“The company left hundreds of passengers trapped on a train for three hours with no air conditioning, toilets or communication system.
“The company’s response significantly increased the risk of passengers independently leaving the train on to the tracks, when the safest place for them was to stay on board until told otherwise.”
David Statham, FCC managing director, said: “We didn’t live up to our own high standards in the way we handled this event, which is why we took quick and decisive action afterwards.
“We would like to apologise once again to all those affected.”
Mr Statham was due to speak with commuters at a public meeting at The Old Ship Hotel last night hosted by Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas.
Ms Lucas said: “I am regularly contacted by constituents concerned about the state of rail services to and from the city.
“Prices, punctuality and toilets are all issues regularly raised with me.
“This meeting is an excellent opportunity for people to put questions and concerns directly to the rail company and to air their views about the services provided by First Capital Connect.”
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