500 Passengers Stuck in Sydenham Tunnel



At about 6.20pm last night the 17.45 London Victoria to Rochester train, comprising eight Class 465/9 Networker carriages and carrying some 500 passengers, became divided at Sydenham Hill station.

The front four coaches of the train came to a halt inside Penge Tunnel, while the rear four stopped with two coaches still at the platform some 10 feet behind. People in the rear part of the train were able to get out onto the platform, while those inside the tunnel had to wait while engineers were called to check the units and arrangements made to move all the carriages back into Sydenham Hill station. This took about an hour and a half.

Passengers were able to board alternative trains and local buses accepted Southeastern tickets in the Penge/Sydenham area to help people to continue their journeys. But many passengers were delayed. The carriages involved in the incident were taken out of service and transferred to our depot at Slade Green, where a full investigation into what had caused the trains to divide is being carried out. A Southeastern spokesperson said:

“While no one was in immediate danger we appreciate this would have been concerning for passengers onboard. It would have been frustrating for many as it meant their journeys home were delayed. A safety mechanism means that in the unlikely event of train units dividing in service – and this was a very unusual occurrence – the brakes are automatically activated and an alarm sounds in the driver’s cab.”

An investigation was launched immediately and the trains taken to the depot for inspection. Early indications suggest that the fault lies with one of the train’s coupling units. Further tests are now being carried out. All trains are regularly checked before entering passenger service to ensure they are in working order.

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