Strike action leaves Chichester schoolgirl ‘terrified’ at railway station

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Chichester Station.ks16000757-10 SUS-160613-224748008
ks16000757-10 Southern Gateway phot kate Chichester Station.ks16000757-10 SUS-160613-224748008

A 15-year-old schoolgirl was left stranded at a railway station with boys taunting her after no bus replacement service was provided.

Eliza Edworthy, from Pook Lane, East Lavant, was travelling home from Portsmouth High School, and due to strike action she got off at Havant to use a replacement bus.

Despite it being only 5.45pm, Eliza found that the bus service had already ended for the night.

Eliza’s mother, Charlie, received a scared phone call from her daughter after she realised she was left stranded on Wednesday, November 23.

Charlie said: “When she rang me I was 25 minutes away, there was no way I could get to her.

“The bus replacement service had stopped and there was nothing I could do.

“She said there were boys surrounding her, taunting her, she was absolutely terrified.

“I said to go into the ticket office and she just whispered, ‘there’s no one here, it’s completely dark’.

“To have the last replacement bus at 5.30pm when most people haven’t even got out of work by then is a disgrace.”

Charlie added: “Luckily she called a school friend who lived in Havant and her mum dropped her home – if something had happened to her it would have been all Southern rail’s fault.”

Adding that the continued railway dispute was just ‘bonkers’, Charlie said: “We, the public, are so powerless in this Southern rail squabble.

“It took me a whole Sunday morning to make 12 claims – six for each of my children – and bizarrely I was repaid for seven, but not the other five.

“But who can I complain to? “I have had enough of this strike.”

In response, Roger Perkins from Southern, said: “We did advertise that our buses would be finishing at 5.30pm but have taken on board the concerns raised and arranged for a standby coach to be available so that this will not happen again.

“We do urge passengers to check our website before they travel during this industrial dispute and apologise again for the disruption it is causing our customers.”

The ongoing dispute is over changes to the role of the train conductor which will see drivers responsible for opening and closing doors. Drivers are also taking action.

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