COUNTY NEWS: Woman praises train guard after near-miss accident

Kelly Rogers was hit by falling sign on a train to East Worthing
Kelly Rogers was hit by falling sign on a train to East Worthing

A ‘horrible’ carriage incident, which could have resulted in ‘serious injury’, has left a 45-year-old Sussex woman grateful for guards on trains.

Kelly Rogers, of Ham Road, Worthing, was travelling home from a meeting in Eastbourne on a Southern Rail train when a plastic advertisement holder became detached from the carriage wall, fell down, ricocheted and struck her.

“It was a bit of a shock,” said Kelly, who works for Unison in Brighton. “Luckily I was not directly underneath it. If I had been, it would have caused serious injury.”

While she was not hurt, Kelly was left shaken. But when she picked up the the ‘relatively heavy’ frame, she became ‘really concerned’, as she said: “I was surprised to find that it was attached by little more than what appears to be a thin strip of adhesive.”

When she went to a guard, who was in the same carriage, he told her it was the second time such an incident had occurred. “It’s absolutely appalling that action hadn’t been taken after the first time,” she said. “There’s obviously an issue with it.”

Concerned for other passengers, she is calling for the incident to be fully investigated by Southern Rail.

She also wanted to thank the guard for his ‘professional response’ and ‘calm reassurances.’

“The conductor was fantastic,” she said. “I was relieved someone was there.”

She said the guard’s presence made her feel safer. 
“Had I been injured, there would have been someone to help,” she said.

She said Govia Thameslink Railway’s plans to make Southern trains driver only operated, which the RMT union said will mean removing a guard from the train, were ‘really worrying.’

A spokesperson from Southern Rail said: “We apologise to Kelly for this unfortunate but very rare incident on the 11.53 train out of Brighton.

“Our advertising frames are affixed securely so it was surprising that this one came off the wall and we are investigating why this happened.

“We haven’t removed any on-board staff from our trains and have no plans to – far from it.

“An on-board supervisor is rostered to be on board every train that used to have a conductor.

“In fact, we are recruiting and training 100 additional on-board supervisors so there will be a second person rostered to be on even more trains than before.”

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