The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has announced it is looking into the events following the stranding of trains in freezing weather near Lewisham on March 2.
As ‘the Beast from the East’ brought parts of the country to a standstill with blizzard-like conditions and sub-zero temperatures, operators battled on and ran reduced services.
On the commuter rail network in south-east London, ice affected Southeastern trains’ third rail power supply and left some passengers stranded on-board already crowded trains.
Against the advice of the British Transport Police (BTP), passengers on “multiple occasions” – according to Southeastern – evacuated the trains onto the track, causing further delays as Network Rail had to cut the power supply until those people had cleared from the track.
In response, and following a preliminary examination of the circumstances, the RAIB has decided to launch a full investigation. Further details will be released within the next fortnight.
Southeastern has apologised to passengers for the delays and has promised to provide additional compensation to them. It has announced that it intends to appoint its own independent investigator to look into the night’s events.
Meanwhile, the BTP have since stressed to passengers that if they should find themselves stranded on a train, the safest place for them is to remain on-board.
In a statement, it said that it is working to improve the provision of information and announcements in the event of a stranded service to “help avoid passenger action”.