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  • Writer's pictureNikki Latham

South Western Railway - The Cost Of Pulling The Customer Alarms On The Train

Incorrect use of passenger communication alarms has caused over 30 hours of train delays in six months (December 2021 to May 2022).

There were 176 incidents of customers activating emergency alarms, which caused 9 services to be cancelled and 1,825 minutes of delays.
When the alarm is activated, the train guard has to walk through the train to investigate, with the train remaining at a standstill, while this happens. This not only causes delays the train where the alarm activation has happened but the trains behind also become trapped and add to their journeys delayed too.
The alarms should only be used in emergencies, such as a fire on the train. There is a penalty of £1,000 for intentionally activating the alarm incorrectly.
Incidents have included, a passenger feeling anxious, a passenger leaving luggage on a platform, a passenger dropping their phone out of the window and a passenger concerned about an unattended bag on the train.
For non-emergencies, customers are encouraged to wait and speak to train staff onboard, alight at the next station to seek assistance, or contact the SWR Twitter account: @SW_Help. If you feel it is necessary there is also the British Transport Police on 61016.
Christian Neill, Customer Experience Director for South Western Railway, commented:
“Customer alarms should only be used in emergencies. Improper activations cause significant disruption to services, negatively impacting staff, and other customers. “SWR has robust measures in place to support customers who are feeling unwell or to tackle disorder. Customers in need of assistance should speak to a member of staff or contact the British Transport Police by texting 61016.”
So when you are next on a train and you think you might need assistance please use one of the options here first rather than pulling the emergency alarm.

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