Rail firm fined £75,000 after 700 stuck between Kentish Town and St Pancras for hours

Blackfriars Crown Court

Blackfriars Crown Court - Credit: Archant

A rail operator has been ordered to pay more than £100,000 after 700 people were stranded for hours between St Pancras and Kentish Town stations.

Passengers were stuck for more than three hours during rush hour when the First Capital Connect (FCC) train lost power and became stranded between the two stations in May 2011.

FFC’s inadequate response culminated in passengers opening the doors and leaving the train, putting themselves in danger, after they were left without air conditioning or toilets and were repeatedly misinformed that a rescue train was imminent.

The train operator was fined £75,000 and told to pay £27,718 in costs by a judge who described the episode as “an absolute shambles” at Blackfriars Crown Court on Monday.

The firm had pleaded guilty to a health and safety offence following a prosecution brought by rail watchdog the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR).

Ian Prosser, ORR’s Director of Safety, said: “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.”

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David Statham, FCC’s managing director, apologised to the passengers and said action has been taken to ensure any repeat is “extremely unlikely”.

He added: “The safety of our passengers is our top priority and we deeply regret what happened back in May 2011.”