First Capital Connect: parent's plight as children stuck on train

PUBLISHED: 12:01 26 February 2010 | UPDATED: 11:17 03 October 2011

Alison Banks

Alison Banks

A MOTHER has hit out at First Capital Connect (FCC) after her children were left trapped on a train while she was stranded on a platform last week. Alison Banks and her sister-in-law Nicola Lunn said they were preparing to board the 9.22am southbound serv

A MOTHER has hit out at First Capital Connect (FCC) after her children were left trapped on a train while she was stranded on a platform last week.

Alison Banks and her sister-in-law Nicola Lunn said they were preparing to board the 9.22am southbound service from Harpenden on Tuesday with their buggies when the doors closed in the absence of any warning sound.

But Mrs Banks' sons Joshua, aged seven, and Kristian, aged five, and their two-year-old cousin Rhys had already got on the train and were left terrified as the train began to move off.

A man on board pulled the emergency cord to stop the train but the doors could not open as half the train had already passed the end of the platform.

An FCC worker told the despairing mothers that their children would probably have to travel alone to St Albans so they reassured them through the carriage window and a member of the public on the train said he would stay with them.

But the driver eventually opened a door further up the train so that Mrs Banks, with her two-year-old daughter Amber, and Mrs Lunn could board the train and be reunited with the children.

They eventually arrived at the Alban Arena in St Albans in time for the show they had planned to see but the children have been left traumatised.

Mrs Banks, of Willow Way, said: "The reason I was so cross about it was that the doors didn't beep. If they had done we would have jumped on but there was no warning at all."

She suggested that FCC staff should be on the platform checking that everyone hds boarded the train safely at busy times, like there was at St Albans.

Mrs Banks, who uses the service to travel to her part-time job in St Albans, continued: "We were just left horrified. I have always travelled on the train with the children, all three of them together, and we have never had a problem before. At some point one of them is going to be on the train or on the platform without me as we can't all board a train at the same time."

She added: "It's left them a bit wary about getting on a train. They have always liked it but they were quite scared on the way back."

Mrs Banks, 41, who has made a complaint to FCC, extended her thanks to the people that rushed to her aid during the incident.

She said: "After it happened I was in a bit of a state and I didn't really thank people enough; there were really kind people that tried to help us. The man that pulled the cord, the man on the carriage and a lovely lady on the platform, as well as all the other passengers that helped."

A spokesperson for FCC, whom the Herts Advertiser first contacted about the incident on Wednesday of last week, said yesterday that they were still in the process of sourcing CCTV footage from the station to see what happened.

He said they would investigate the incident, in particular the claims that the alarms failed to sound before the doors closed.

He added: "Safety is our number one priority and when we receive an enquiry such as this we carry out a full investigation.

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