MP demands action after first aider struggled to reach collapsed man on Fife train

One commuter said the peak time train she was on was the most overcrowded she had ever seen. Pic: John Devlin.
One commuter said the peak time train she was on was the most overcrowded she had ever seen. Pic: John Devlin.

Commuters watched in horror as a first aider had to climb over seats and tables on a packed Fife train to aid a fellow passenger who had collapsed.

The claim was made by one traveller who witnessed the incident on a packed tea-time train heading to the Kingdom from Edinburgh on Tuesday.

Lesley Laird MP said if action is not taken to address overcrowding it's only a matter of time before another situation happens.

Lesley Laird MP said if action is not taken to address overcrowding it's only a matter of time before another situation happens.

The commuter said the man fell ill before the train reached the Forth Bridge and passengers shouted out for any doctors or nurses on board to come forward and assist.

Travellers also attempted to get the attention of the driver or the conductor to alert them to what had happened on the 5.16pm service.

The commuter said a female first aider was found and because the train was so crowded she had to climb over the rows of seats to get through the carriage and reach the man.

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Lesley Laird MP has requested a joint meeting with the Minister Michael Matheson and Alex Hynes.  (Pic: George McLuskie)

Lesley Laird MP has requested a joint meeting with the Minister Michael Matheson and Alex Hynes. (Pic: George McLuskie)

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She said: “It was the busiest and most over crowded I have ever seen. There were only two carriages instead of six at a very busy time.

“Passengers were so packed in the carriage they were nearly nose to nose and there was no other way for the first aider to get to the man except to climb over the seats and tables.

“I really hope he was ok but this just shows that these overcrowded trains are not safe.”

She added: “I feel so unsafe on these crowded trains. I fear that nothing will get done until it’s too late and someone gets seriously hurt.”

After learning of the incident Lesley Laird, MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, said: “It is really concerning when constituents come to me with horror stories like this. Overcrowding and passenger safety was raised at the ScotRail public meeting where Alex Hynes was asked what the maximum number of passengers allowed on a rail carriage was.

“It appears that call is down to a conductor’s discretion but in this specific case I’ve been told passengers were unable to reach a conductor.

“The carriage was so jam-packed a fellow passenger with first-aid training had to walk across the tables to assist. I’m sure I speak for most commuters in saying that if action is not taken to address overcrowding it’s only a matter of time before another situation happens.”

She said overcrowding in the summer doesn’t bear thinking about.

The MP continued: “I remain completely dissatisfied by the rubber earing of Fife’s concerns and it’s simply not good enough to tell Fifers ‘sorry, put up with it until the end of the year.”

The politician has asked for meeting with Transport Minister Michael Matheson and ScotRail chief Alex Hynes following numerous complaints about overcrowding, delays and cancellations.

“We want action, not warm words and long-term reassurances. We need more carriages now.

“Fife commuters deserve better and I am again calling on both of these gentlemen to meet with me urgently.”

ScotRail said the incident did not appear to have been reported to on-train staff, and it would not be able to comment on the specific details in this case.

A ScotRail spokesperson said: “We know that some of our customers in Fife have been frustrated by the service they have received from us in recent months. Our performance hasn’t been good enough, we understand that, but things are improving.

“It is not accurate for Lesley Laird MP to say that we are not listening to the concerns of people in Fife.”

The spokesman said Mr Hynes had met customers at a public meeting, and only last week held talks with Fife councillors.

He added: “We are confident that the investment we are making across Scotland’s railway will help us to give our customers the service they expect and deserve.”