'Chaos' prompts commuter to question St Albans City Station's evacuation procedures
PUBLISHED: 10:28 21 December 2016 | UPDATED: 11:35 21 December 2016
Chaos and 'lack of people management' at St Albans City Station has prompted a regular Thameslink commuter to query evacuation procedures, in the event of emergencies.
Scott Burges, a resident of St Albans for over 40 years, has written to Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) about his concerns.
He said: “You only have to stand on the centre platform at St Albans Station and see the chaos and lack of people management that happens on a regular basis. I am sure if trains ran to schedule this problem is manageable, but unfortunately running to schedule is the exception and not the rule.”
Scott was initially prompted to write to GTR in November, after “experiencing the log jam of 12 over-full carriages arriving at the central platform in St Albans with another train arriving at platform four”.
He said: “I was wondering what your evacuation procedures are and how the staff are trained.
“I ask as I can see no signage on the station and crowd management by the staff [going by] previous experience is non-existent.”
As Scott works in the live events industry for a London based company, which provided visual effects at all four Olympic ceremonies at Rio 2016, he explained that health and safety “is something we have to deal with on a regular basis and are taught to be constantly aware of.
“So with this in mind I do see the probability of a major situation arising at St Albans City Station, particularly with the increasing number of passengers.
“I would be grateful if you could put my mind at rest and let me know the processes and systems you have in place for these possible situations.”
A spokesman for GTR said that all station staff at St Albans were briefed on emergency plans and the disruption management plan, including crowd control management.
He added: “The issue of increasing passenger numbers was discussed at the public meeting held by St Albans MP Anne Main in November attended by Stuart Cheshire, passenger services director.
“We have employed two additional staff members to supervise exit out of platform 2/3 during the evening peak, and to collate data to support a review of the infrastructure at the station.
“Additionally, as part of our plans for the redevelopment of the station, the Ridgmont Road exit will be rebuilt to provide an improved entrance/exit from the station.”
On previous occasions when there had been a large influx of passengers arriving, for example when a cable came into contact with overhead lines at Luton last month, gates were opened at both ends to allow a smooth flow of customers from the station.