Why trains should have guards

An account of an incident on the 18:12 King’s Cross to Cambridge and King’s Lynn yesterday evening, Sunday 25th September – and why there should be a guard on trains.

Yesterday my husband and I travelled back from Paris on the Eurostar and took the fast train from King’s Cross to Cambridge and King’s Lynn. We were in a carriage that had a small first class section at the end, and during our trip we became aware of a rhythmic thumping from the first class. At first we thought it was mechanical, then we realised that it was someone methodically kicking the door at the other end, which was a locked one leading to (I think) a motor unit. The perpetrator started to shout and throw beer cans, and attempted to destroy some seats. At this point, a couple of people from our section realised that drunk man in the first class was not alone, but was terrorising a fellow passenger. A reasonably burly man and a very brave young woman sallied forth and rescued the unfortunate chap who was on the receiving-end of drunk guy’s ire, and we all discussed what to do. No point in activating the emergency button, as it was a driver-only train and the last thing we wanted was to stop the train, which at this point was about five minutes from Cambridge. No indication of a number for the British Transport Police. People were beginning to stand up and collect their belongings, and after more kicking at the near door, drunk guy also emerged – immediately to attack, verbally, the young woman who had taken part in the rescue. It was notable that he didn’t go for the man. At this point we tried to ring 999 but couldn’t get a signal, while the inhabitants of our carriage stepped forward and prepared to shield the young woman. We finally drew into Cambridge station, and by the time I got to the exit and talked to the station staff, several of our travelling companions had already reported the incident and station security had already called the police. But it shouldn’t have required mass action from a bunch of passengers to keep an aggressive drunk in check – there should have been a guard.