Southern Rail staff fail to spot fake bomb on train

Suspicious bag on busy train went unnoticed during anti-terror initiative test

Rail staff fail to spot fake bomb on train

A rail operator reportedly failed a security test after undercover investigators placed a fake bomb in a train carriage - and it went unnoticed.

The suspicious device was left in a bag and placed on a busy Southern Rail train, operated by GTR, as part of an anti-terror initiative test, according to The Sun.

See also: Scorpion on London to Edinburgh train causes delays

See also: Train derails and explodes in Bulgaria

In a November memo obtained by The Times, Tony Holland, the crime and security manager of GTR wrote: "Last week transport security inspectors from the Department for Transport (DfT) carried out a covert test on one of our trains.

"The test involved leaving an unattended bag on a train, which contained a suspicious item.

"Disappointingly, the bag was not found despite it being positioned in a public area of the train, and railway personnel seen to walk past the location."

Southern Rail has been subject to a number of strikes in an ongoing row over the role of guards amid plans for drivers to open doors.

Speaking to The Times, a spokesman for Aslef, the train drivers' union, said: "It is quite extraordinary that Southern Railway has failed a DfT security test while getting rid of the guards on the trains. How does this help reassure passengers?"

The spokesman told the paper that going forward there will actually be more people working on their trains, being able to offer "better customer service as well as looking for suspicious bags", and that they have on occasion run a train with only a driver as they have been forced to due to the "unwarranted" industrial action.

The spokesman added: "All railway staff are acutely aware of the increased security threat and we pass the overwhelming majority of DfT's routine tests and investigate any that we fail."

A Southern Rail staff strike is planned to start on Monday.

Related video: