Bosses at c2c and Greater Anglia have confirmed that a full investigation will be launched after shocking CCTV video emerged of train passengers being abused. In one particularly sickening scene, one passenger was filmed being charged £3348 for an annual season ticket from Southend Central to Fenchurch Street, and the ticket office clerk stares coldly at the distraught member of the public while they weep over the Chip & PIN machine.
Our Chief Reporter spoke to one passenger who makes the journey from Westcliff to London on the c2c from Monday to Friday, and she cried while we sat and watched footage of hundreds of people boarding a train at Barking and then getting off at West Ham out of their sheer desperation to avoid using the District Line or the Hammersmith and City Line.
Petunia, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, said: ‘These people think that London Underground trains are possessed by some sort of pagan spirit, and so they all pile onto the c2c at Barking. I remember this day very well as you see me get crushed against the opposite door when everyone forces their way into the train at Barking – nobody is there to stop them. If you look very carefully at the glass, you see a perfect imprint of my makeup.’
Petunia stopped at this point to compose herself, and after we handed her a handkerchief she took a few sips of water and said that she was ready to carry on.
She added: ‘You can clearly see me get on at Fenchurch Street, and this train was advertised as stopping at Pitsea. We pulled out of Basildon, and then all of a sudden the driver announces that a kid with a mean-looking dog was hanging around on the platform at Pitsea and that the train wouldn’t be able to stop for health and safety reasons.’
‘It was the last train of the night, and as we sped through Pitsea I noticed that it was actually a lamppost with a Tesco carrier bag stuck to the bottom. When we got to Benfleet, I had to get out and walk across the marshland back to Pitsea in pitch black darkness – I could have drowned.’
In an act of supreme bravery, Jessica Padoodle contacted our Newsdesk and said that she wanted to ‘tell the world’ about the shocking conditions that she was subjected to on the train that has been nicknamed the ‘Vomit Comet’ – this is the final service of the night from Liverpool Street to Southend Victoria.
She said: ‘I always thought that the nickname was just someone being over-dramatic, but as you can see in this footage we hadn’t even reached Stratford and a trickling stream of sick was already flowing down the centre of the carriage. It was like that scene in Guest House Paradiso but with more paper bags full of Burger King.’
‘I jumped up onto one of the seats to escape the chunky stream that was becoming more of a canal by Forest Gate, when suddenly the driver announced that a number of speed restrictions were in place leading up to Shenfield because engineers were polishing the rails – this meant that the train was going from full speed to 20 mph and then back up to full speed at regular intervals.’
‘This constant change in speed was making more and more people violently sick – trains on this line can be like a rollercoaster at the best of times!’
‘By the time we pulled into Shenfield and the doors opened, it all started flowing out onto the platform and an elderly passenger who was trying to get on slipped and broke his nose.’
‘The train was declared as ‘unsafe’ at this point and we were all herded into a rail replacement bus that just happened to be waiting for us at Shenfield. Naturally the driver found the most indirect route to Southend and I remember walking through my front door three weeks later.’
Have you been a victim of train operator abuse? Would you be prepared to tell Southend News Network in complete confidence? Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org – you don’t need to use your real name. You could even make one up, like ‘Captain Pants’ or ‘Melinda Messenger.’ She was lovely wasn’t she? Actually she still is lovely, why don’t we see her on TV anymore?