There was chaos at Falmer after the Brighton v A. Villa match which attracted 30,000 people. It seems clear that Southern are totally incapable of running a train service to handle such events. The RMT letter is reproduced below:
Our Ref: HSR/4/5
21st November 2016
HM Chief Inspector of Railways ORR
One Kemble Street
London WC2B 4AN
FALMER – SOUTHERN – SERIOUS SAFETY CONCERNS & FAILURE TO PREPARE & PLAN
I write again over the failure of Southern to deliver a service that is safe for passengers to use.
The scenario that developed at Brighton and Falmer railway stations on Friday night, 18th
November, for the Brighton & Hove Albion V Aston Villa football game is quite simply unacceptable and is creating serious issues relating to the safety of passengers and workers who are doing so much to ensure that a service is maintained.
Southern have a duty to ensure that passengers are safe during their interaction with the railway in terms of access to stations and their onward journey unfortunately clear evidence is showing that it is not. Despite public investment, following concerns raised by RMT over Health and Safety issues at Falmer, where platforms have been extended, signals re-sighted, improved signage and barriers at ramp ends, Southern have failed to use those improvements for the benefit of passengers.
They constantly fail to utilise the opportunity for that increased capacity and, as we observed on Friday evening, they operate with 3 car trains that will not carry the number of fans in the time/space available to them. This is causing serious safety concerns and it is only a matter of time before we have wholesale public disturbances, with railway employees being on the front line of the anger that GTR / Southern are wholly responsible for creating.
On Friday there were at least 11 driver duties and at least 8 guard duties left uncovered. Most of the guard jobs were late turns and this would have covered the evening football match. It calls again into question, just what are Southern management doing to ensure a reliable and safe railway is in place and working and ensuring that their own staff and employees are safe whilst doing their duty? It leads me to ask several questions about what Southern are doing in relation to organising for events across their network. They were well aware that the crowd for the game was going to be larger than usual.
Did they plan enough skilled staff to deal and cope with that situation; was there enough R.N.O.’s, B.T.P., Barrier Security and Managers available before, during and after the football match?
Were the Southern management aware of the post match difficulties and issues? If so what did they do to alleviate them after the match? The ground capacity is 30,750 and Friday’s match attracted an attendance of 30,107. We believe that at least 30% of fans utilise the railway and Southern would need to have plans in place under their Safety Certificate for their safe travel. These fans would be on platforms late into the night following a highly charged competitive and challenging football match?
Were sufficient train crew in place to move the large numbers of expected fans between locations to Falmer?
Was sufficient stock available to ensure capacity was available to move the fans?
Was an emergency plan in place should there be an accident, train delays, sickness,incident or any other serious football related issue as we saw over the weekend with floodlight failure ensuring that games finished much later than expected ?
I am certain that there are other questions waiting to be asked, not least from observations and comments made by fans to Southern/GTR through the press and social media. I know that comments were made at Falmer station by stranded passengers who were calling for the army to be brought in and seeking directions for walking along the tracks back home after the game was finished. This is serious and unprecedented in recent times and things must change. I ask you to undertake an immediate investigation and report the findings back to me upon completion, and further support my demand that GTR halt their implementation of DOO.
Please see thelink below for additional report from fans. http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/fan-sleeps-amex-stadium-amid–12205617