Two Smoking Trains This Week

There’s been two terrifying incidents with smoke billowing out of trains this week – though thankfully neither resulted in injury.

The Standard reports a Central line train which started smoking at Holland Park station (the actual day is murky, but the video was posted on Sunday). Transport for London confirms the station was closed between 6.40pm-7.23pm and the smoke was caused by brakes locking against the wheels. The train had already started to pull out of the station so none of the doors were opened in case passengers climbed onto the live tracks. You can see for yourself what effect that had: total panic. Passengers on the platform tried to force doors open – it’s a full minute before any member of staff comes to help – others climbed out of the gaps between carriages, while a recorded announcement plays asking people to leave the station.

Then on Tuesday just before 8am, a Southeastern train began smoking as it neared Hither Green station. At least here, Network Rail did turn the power off so passengers could get out and walk along the tracks. Southeastern says it believes the smoke was caused by the train’s shoe gear (the bit that draws power from the track) overheating.

Now, who said these things come in threes?

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  • willshome

    Actually, what I saw in the first video was not panic but proportionate action and a heartening amount of co-operation.

    • Rachel Holdsworth

      I agree it’s great that passengers worked together to people out, but it’s the lack of reaction from staff that prompted people to swing into action. Passengers would have thought they were trapped, perhaps because of a train malfunction, when the doors were behaving exactly as they’re (apparently) meant to. Lack of communication meant passengers were unnecessarily freaked out. Would you try climbing out the gap between the carriages if you thought you weren’t in imminent danger?