Emergency alarms causes 17 hours of rail delays

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

An emergency alarm on a Greater Anglia train
An emergency alarm on a Greater Anglia train. Credit: Greater Anglia

An emergency alarm on a Greater Anglia train
An emergency alarm on a Greater Anglia train. Credit: Greater Anglia

Rail passengers activating emergency alarms on Greater Anglia trains have caused over 17 hours of delays in just six months.

The train company is reminding passengers that activating the emergency alarm delays trains for all passengers – and it’s not the best way to get help.

From 1 April to 4 September 2021 there were 89 incidents of passengers activating the emergency alarm, causing 1,032 minutes of delays and nine cancellations.

Most incidents were classed as “malicious” although 13 per cent were from customers who wanted some help.

Anyone who is caught activating the emergency alarm maliciously could be fined up to £1,000.

When an emergency alarm is activated, the driver of the train must stop the train and in some instances walk back to the carriage to find out what is happening and reset the alarm – causing hold-ups for passengers on board the stopped train and trains behind it.

Martin Moran, Greater Anglia commercial, customer service and train presentation director said: “Activating the emergency alarm delays the train for everyone on board.

“Other passengers might be trying to get to work, school, funerals, hospital appointments, go on a date, or pick up their children from school or childcare.

“The emergency alarm is just for urgent situations, such as a fire on board. Otherwise there are better and quicker ways to get help such as asking for help at the next station or tweeting @greateranglia which is staffed 24/7.

“We want all of our trains to be on time because it’s important our customers can rely on getting to their destinations on time.”

Anyone who needs help on the train can:

• Speak to the conductor

• Tweet @greateranglia

• Ring Greater Anglia on 0345 600 7245 (option 0)

• Get off at the next station and either speak to a member of staff or use the help point or assistance button on the ticket machine to get help.

Greater Anglia and the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust work together to go to the aid of sick passengers as quickly as possible.

Passengers are advised not to activate the emergency alarm but to wait until the next station where the ill passenger can be taken off the train and treated and medical help will arrive more quickly.

If someone becomes ill on a train and it’s a life-threatening emergency, passengers should dial 999 for an ambulance. Passengers should also alert any staff on board or contact Greater Anglia via Twitter.

Anyone who spots someone activating the emergency alarm maliciously is asked to text British Transport Police on 61016.