Colne pair stranded as conductor refused them – despite arriving by train! (From Lancashire Telegraph)
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Colne pair stranded as conductor refused them – despite arriving by train!
3:07pm Thursday 3rd October 2013 in News
A CYCLIST has vowed never to use Northern Rail services again after claiming a conductor left him and his wife stranded at a station.
John Birkett and Chie Terayama, from Colne, said they had to cycle 16 miles from Burscough Junction to Preston in pouring rain after not being allowed to board a ‘near-empty’ train.
They were returning from a cycling holiday with another couple from Barrowford when they were told only two bikes were allowed on board the train.
National Rail said it had posted a letter of apology to the couple but insisted the conductor had followed company policy.
Mr Birkett, 64, said the firm had been ‘inconsistent’ as it had allowed all four cyclists and their bikes on board a service from Southport to Burscough Bridge that morning. He said: “It was raining, we were in a small rural village in the middle of nowhere, we had no maps and we had no idea where we were.
“We were in fact further from our destination than when we had set out from Southport.
“We couldn’t understand how, considering the train was virtually empty, the guard could be so callous as to leave two old people stranded at a remote railway station in such inclement weather.
“What if it had been later in the day and we were obliged to cycle in the dark? Or what if it had happened to a family with young kids?”
Mr Birkett said the other couple boarded the train as they had a puncture and that he and his wife chose to cycle to Preston as the wait for the next train was more than two hours.
A Northern Rail spokeswoman said the decision to allow all four cyclists on the Southport to Burscough Bridge service had been made by a member of Mersey Rail staff.
She added: “Our conductors take the responsibility for the safety of their train and everyone onboard and their decision is final. We welcome cyclists onboard all our services and would like to apologise to Mr Birkett and his wife for the disruption they experienced.”
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