A RUSH hour train from London was cancelled last Tuesday evening (March 4) - because the guard had gone to Sainsbury’s.
Hundreds of commuters faced delays after the 19.53 service to Hastings was withdrawn after arriving at Tonbridge in Kent.
The guard was later spotted in Sainsbury’s, but did not get on board as he was having his break, so the next train was cancelled.
Passengers had to load onto another service, after facing delays of at least an hour.
Julia Harris, a civil servant and mother-of-one, had been returning home from work in Leeds to get a connection in London to Hastings when she was caught up in the delays.
She was supposed to get the 19.23 train from London Bridge, but this was cancelled. She then got on the 19.53 service, but this was delayed at Tonbridge as the guard had ‘gone missing’.
Mrs Harris, of Laton Road, said: “After half an hour the driver said that they had located the guard, his earlier train had got in late but he had still decided to go ahead with his break, and he had been found walking back from Sainsbury’s.
“There were three trainloads of people on one train. We were more than an hour delayed and everyone was squashed in like sardines. Everyone just went crazy. It was a nightmare.”
A spokesman from Southeastern said: “We’re really sorry to customers caught up in the problems on Tuesday. We’re looking into what happened and we can certainly understand passengers’ anger here. While frustrating for people who rightly just want to get home, anyone working in safety critical roles are required to take breaks after working a certain amount of hours.
“The shift timing was thrown out of place because of a knock-on effect of earlier delays, and we didn’t have a standby conductor available to work the train in his place.”