Parents' horror as train pulls out of station with children alone on platform

Paul and Claire Leighton's children left stranded at remote New Forest station


Two parents have spoken of their horror after a train they were on pulled out of the station with them on board and their little children stranded on the platform.

Nightmare became reality for desperate Paul and Claire Leighton as they watched their daughter, five, and two sons, seven and 10, disappear into the distance as the train rolled on.

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The three children were in tears as their frantic parents failed to raise the alarm to stop the train.

The doors had closed unexpectedly after Claire and Paul got on board the 9.31am train at a remote station in the New Forest.

It pulled out of the station at Hinton Admiral, leaving their children standing on the platform as distraught Claire and Paul headed off towards Christchurch four miles down the line.

Paul, 45, leapt off the train as soon as it stopped at Christchurch and dashed back in a taxi to the tiny rural station, where his tearful and frightened children were being looked after by a member of staff.

Paul and the children were helping Claire board the train because she's on crutches after breaking both legs in the summer.

"Paul was helping me to get to a seat when the doors suddenly closed without warning. He had only been on the train for a matter of seconds" she said.

"Hinton Admiral station is very quiet as well so if anyone had looked they would have seen that the children were standing by the train on their own."

Claire's sister, Helen Knox, was waiting for her to arrive at Bournemouth station when she received a text.

She said "I told the staff at Bournemouth station and they were very good and got in touch with Hinton Admiral straightaway.

"Claire just said the doors had closed much too quickly and that no-one could have looked or they would have seen the children.

"Paul had no money on him at the time of the incident and said he would like to thank a man at Christchurch station who paid his taxi fare.

"He could see we were in a panic and said he had children so he understood - we are really grateful."

After the drama, Paul took the children back to their home in Bransgore, near Christchurch.

Claire eventually met her two sisters and they continued with their family tradition of wrapping their Christmas presents together.

A spokesman for South West Trains said the company is looking into the incident and added "We will be trying to access CCTV so we can get a clearer picture of what happened."

On social media 'xshuttlex' posted "A very scary situation. Glad it all ended well. As for the gentleman who paid for the taxi, it is nice to see that there are still decent people around. Well done Sir."

Polyvista wrote, "If there was a guard it doesn't do ASLEF's and NUR's case much good!!! The driver should be in control and be able to satisfy himself or herself it is safe to move on."