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Alfreton mum “gobsmacked” by train failures after son’s lucky escape

Alfreton teacher Tella Durham is seeking an explanation from East Midlands Trains after a catalogue of errors nearly left her 13-year-old son Dan stranded on a station platform at night.
Alfreton teacher Tella Durham is seeking an explanation from East Midlands Trains after a catalogue of errors nearly left her 13-year-old son Dan stranded on a station platform at night.

A teacher from Alfreton is demanding answers after a catalogue of train faults nearly left her teenage son stranded on the platform at night.

Tella Durham, 35, and her family had been to Liverpool on Sunday, May 6, to celebrate son Dan’s 13th birthday when their train arrived back at Alfreton just after 9pm.

She said: “Dan went to the doors at the front of the carriage and the rest of the family went to the doors at the back.

“I pressed the button to open the doors but nothing happened, Dan was on the platform trying to open the doors from the outside when the train started to pull away.”

The family were not the only ones unable to disembark, and another passenger saw the situation develop and pulled the emergency stop handle to halt the train.

To get the doors opened, Tella went in search of the train’s staff only for it to start moving again.

She said: “I am gobsmacked that staff felt it was appropriate to move the train away when the emergency stop had been used without investigating what the emergency was.

“I was asking everybody for help, and someone activated the emergency stop again.”

Tella added: “Eventually a member of staff came out and threatened that to fine me for illegally using the emergency stop - before even asking what the problem was.

“We were told it wasn’t an emergency. If a child being alone at a train station at night with no phone is not an emergency what is? It was the most terrifying moment of my life.”

An East Midlands Trains spokesman said: “We are sorry to hear about the experience Tella had with us. Safety is always our priority and we are carrying out a full investigation to understand what happened. We are in contact with Tella to keep her updated with our progress.”

However, Tella has been told that the matter will be dealt with confidentially, meaning she may never know why the situation occurred or what action will be taken to prevent a similar incident.

She said: “I am expecting an explanation, reassurances and guarantees that this will never happen again.”