Rail crisis as passengers fall out of overcrowded trains and get trampled on, says union
- Credit: Archant
The Government is being urged to declare a national emergency over the rail crisis, as passengers are reportedly spilling out of Norfolk trains and getting trampled on.
Trade union Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) said ministers should convene an urgent meeting of the Cobra committee, claiming that delays to Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) services are now the biggest rail breakdown in peacetime history.
A survey of TSSA members at GTR - which runs the Great Northern train between King's Lynn and King's Cross - showed that stations are no longer safe for staff because of rising levels of passenger anger at delays.
At King's Lynn, one worker said he saw passengers falling from an arriving train on to the platform when the doors opened, with some being trampled on.
One station host said he had to help a season ticket-holder who was experiencing epileptic fits because of stress brought on by cancellations.
But a GTR spokesman said: 'We have no reports of this and do not recognise these claims. Services to and from King's Lynn have been running with very few gaps in service.'
Nearly all of TSSA's GTR station staff have suffered abuse from passengers as a result of frustrations over cancelled trains, it said.
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Most station staff said their jobs have become more difficult and their anxiety at work has increased since the new timetable changes came into effect.
Workers reported passengers being 'treated like animals' and 'forced into trains' that 'clearly do not have the capacity to take them' because so many have been cancelled.
Union members reported that the situation had been made worse by the heatwave, with no toilet or water facilities made available on overcrowded platforms or trains.
The union said the latest new timetable introduced by GTR this week - the third since May 20 - is doing nothing to improve services or alleviate the 'misery' of passengers and staff.
TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: 'The breakdown in services at GTR is nothing short of a national scandal, but it is also a national emergency. Passengers are stranded at stations and squashed into trains.'