Fatality adds to Christmas Eve train chaos

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Train cancellations and delays due to a lack of staff have been worsened after a man was hit by a train.

Passengers face delays at East Croydon for up to an hour until at least 3pm while emergency services were at the scene, said Southern.

A spokesman said cancellations and delays due to a shortage of train crew were expected to last for the whole of Christmas Eve.

Patrick Newman, a reader, said: “Train operators obviously have been astonished about Christmas suddenly appearing on 25th December.

“This is rank poor management and passengers should not be expected to pay for it with inconvenience and their own money!”

On social media, Ben Wilson said: “In other words they [staff] have decided to take their rostered days off to spend with their families!”

Southern Rail’s website stated: “There may be various reasons for a member of train crew being unavailable, for example when the service is disrupted this can lead to train crews being displaced and unable to crew their next scheduled service.

“However, one of the underlying factors is that sometimes we do not have enough train crew to carry out both day-to-day operations and the large amount of training required to enable long-term passenger service improvements, without asking train crew to work rest days.”

It added: “Also, while we are recruiting and training, existing train crew retire and leave for personal reasons.

“As a result, there continues to be a risk of cancellations, in particular during periods of high annual leave – but we are steadily overcoming this.”

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