Commuters bemused as driver ‘forgets to open doors’ at King’s Cross
PUBLISHED: 14:24 08 June 2018 | UPDATED: 16:25 08 June 2018
Commuters have hailed “a new level of incompetency” after a Great Northern train driver neglected to open the doors for his passengers on arriving in London.
Self-employed yoga teacher and Hitchin Rail Commuters campaigner Ros Southward got the 9.37am service from Hitchin, only for the driver to arrive at King’s Cross and walk away – without letting everyone off.
She summed it up on social media as “a new level of incompetency”, adding that railway staff came down about five minutes later and opened all the doors manually.
Speaking to the Comet, she said: “You seriously just couldn’t make this stuff up.
“Everyone stood up to get off and the doors didn’t open. We stood waiting, and a guy in a hi-vis vest came over to try and open the door from outside but couldn’t.
“He walked off and we were left standing there with no announcements or clue what was going on. As usual I was on my way to work, so was keen to get off and on my way. I was in the last carriage too so we couldn’t see anything or tell what was happening.
“About five minutes later a Great Northern staff member came and opened the door manually from the outside, and we were able to get off.
“He apologised profusely. When I asked why there hadn’t been an announcement to keep us informed on what was going on, he said the driver thought everything was OK and had left the train and walked off.
“How on Earth as a train driver can you not be aware you haven’t opened the train doors? Surely you would expect at least some people to be getting off the train by the the time you got out?
“Being that there is a driver shortage, I am left wondering if this driver was either not trained up properly, or working so much and having stress travelling to get to where he was driving from that he was so tired he forgot to open the doors.”
Hitchin-based travel blogger Steve Biggs told the Comet he was also on the train in question, which called at Stevenage before heading into London.
“I was in the last carriage, arriving on platform 8,” he said.
“Passengers had already stood up to exit but there we waited for a good five or six minutes! The ‘open’ button didn’t light up, and there was no communication from the driver. Allegedly he’d just wandered off without remembering to open the doors.
“Either way, when we were finally able to alight we had do so by walking through the carriage to the next available doors – which had been opened manually. The member of staff on the platform was very apologetic.”
The Comet has contacted Great Northern for comment.
Amid chronic delays and cancellations since the introduction of a new rail timetable on May 20, Hitchin and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami has arranged public meetings with Great Northern line operator Govia Thameslink and Network Rail in Hitchin on July 4 and Harpenden on July 5, at locations to be confirmed.
Mr Afolami said June 22, which had been a key date for the December timetable, was no longer relevant.