We'd like to sincerely apologise to all our passengers who were caught up in the disruption on Friday night and especially those stranded on busy trains. We understand the conditions were extremely difficult for them whilst we dealt with major disruption caused by ice affecting the power supply to our trains. Railway staff were working exceptionally hard to keep services moving, despite the challenging conditions.
Our trains collect power using an electrified third rail that represents a great danger to any person who might come into contact with it, risking electrocution. Trains had come to a stand after struggling to draw power from the frozen rail. On multiple occasions on Friday evening, people evacuated from trains against the advice of railway staff or the British Transport Police, presenting a significant risk to their safety.
The safety of our passengers and employees is our foremost priority, and with people on the track Network Rail had no choice but to switch off the power supply until people cleared the track, which prolonged the situation further.
Southeastern and Network Rail will be appointing an independent investigator to carry out a full review of the events on Friday night. Although incidents of this nature are extremely rare, we are determined to learn lessons that we can apply at all levels to prevent and mitigate future incidents. We have also informed the independent Rail Accident Investigation Branch of the circumstances and invited them to carry out their own investigation.
We also want to hear from passengers who were on the stranded trains on Friday, we ask that they get in touch with us by contacting our Customer Services team. We will be providing compensation for those people directly affected on those trains. We have also been doubling Delay Repay compensation payouts for passengers delayed on our services from Tuesday 27 February to Friday 2 March.