Panic as train driver announces he's entering tunnel 'to see if it's on fire'

Commuter panic as train driver announces he's entering tunnel 'to see if it's on fire'Stock photo: PA

A driver caused panic on a packed commuter train by announcing he was entering a tunnel to check if it was on fire.

The announcement was made as the 6.28am from Hastings, East Sussex, to London, Charing Cross, approached the Mountfield Tunnel by Robertsbridge.

One traveller, Simon Foster, 53, said many people were bordering on panic, and looked at each other in horror, fearing the driver had "lost his mind".

Simon told The Sun: "He said they could not find anyone to check if there was a fire - so he was going to drive through the tunnel at quarter speed to find out. Everyone was upset. Some were on the verge of panic."

Another commuter said the announcement left people "wondering whether they would come out the other end alive".

A spokeswoman for Southeastern Trains revealed there had been a fire started in the tunnel last Tuesday after a conductor rail insulator pot blew.

She told the paper: "While we ask that drivers keep passengers informed, this announcement caused unnecessary alarm and we're sorry. At no time were passengers in any danger."

In other shocking train news, London Midland was forced to apologise this month after 'insensitively' suggesting on Twitter that commuters go to the pub to avoid delays after a suspected suicide on the tracks.

A man in his 70s was hit by a train in Birmingham, and when commuters asked questions about subsequent delays to the service, London Midland tweeted: "Go to the pub - things will be rubbish for at least the next hour".

David Whitley, who manages the network's Twitter account, said: "We are very sorry if we have unintentionally upset anyone reading through our Twitter feed."

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