Pregnant woman ‘humiliated’ by train driver after doors failed to open

Posted On 05 Apr 2017 at 12:43 pm

A pregnant woman says she was left distraught and humiliated after a train driver publicly shamed her for holding up the train after the doors failed to open.

Vicky Schildkamp had to hurry for her morning train when it arrived two minutes’ early at Preston Park Station – only to find that the doors wouldn’t open.

She ran, carrying a coffee and a heavy laptop bag, the full length of the train before finding one door being held open by another passenger for her.

But once on board, she was horrified when instead of apologising, the driver berated her and the man who held open the door over the tannoy, leading to dirty looks from other passengers as she walked through the carriages to find a seat.

Mrs Schildkamp said: “The driver appeared not to have noticed that the doors wouldn’t open (surely he could see in his cameras?) and was apparently shouting at passengers not to hold doors open.

“The train departed on time. As I got on the train the driver again came on the loud speakers and was extremely rude about the kind man who held open the door for me saying that because of him the train was now running late, which it wasn’t.

“I had to take a long walk of shame down the train again, attracting some looks of sympathy and others of anger from passengers. On the way down the train were two other rail staff who were not on duty and they said that the driver clearly hadn’t noticed that he hadn’t released the doors.

“I was in tears, out of puff and completely embarrassed.”

A spokesman for Thameslink said: “We are very sorry for the distress caused to Ms Schildkamp this morning and are calling to discuss it with her. This will form part of our enquiries into what happened.”

The issue of the safety of driver-only operated trains is at the heart of the ongoing dispute between Southern and the RMT and Aslef rail unions.

Thameslink trains have always been driver-only operated and have no on board supervisors, although revenue protection staff travel on some routes.

  1. Mark Reply

    Sounds like propaganda/deliberate to support their view that the doors shouldn’t be operated by the driver…..?

  2. Zoe Gilham Reply

    Absolutely discussing.clearly driver only trains are not the answer on any region. This driver should be sacked with immediate effect. And a public very public apoligy should be made to the lady. Not a sweep it under the carpet sorry we are looking into it but here’s a feeble excuse for the rude driver kind of apology. The lady should be compensated heavily for this. And the man too. Who the hell do these jobsworth people think they are.

  3. Bob tidd Reply

    You haven’t heard the drivers side of the story and you are calling for him to be sacked ?

  4. Bob tidd Reply

    If the driver hadn’t released the doors then a passenger couldn’t have held one open for her. It’s impossible. The doors are linked. If one opens they all open unless a door has been locked out in which case there are signs indicating this.
    What is more likely is that she has arrived late for the train,probably buying her coffee and then a stranger has delayed the service by holding the door open potentially damaging the door in the process.

  5. Dave Winter Reply

    Just wondering, if the doors hadn’t been released at the station how the other passengers got on, how she got a cup of coffee and also how a member of the public held them open for her if they hadn’t been opened??? A few facts perhaps missing from this story…Yrains are shocking but fairs fair.

  6. Railway csa Reply

    90% of train delays are because of passengers that don’t care about holding the doors which then in turn delays that train by 30 seconds which has a knock on effect because for each 1 train delayed by 30 seconds to a minute evry train that slots in behind it at either Haywards Heath or beyond will then be delayed on average to regulate the service again from there anywhere from 30 to 50 trains. Trains are delayed because of idiots that hold doors everyday and idiots that Vape and smoke in carriage as well as idiots that stand too close to the edge and drop items and think to get things themselves etc… the only people that have the right to complain that are more than often accepting of crap are those with children and REAL health issues (not greedy/mentally ill etc’) because they look at the bigger picture…
    Want a train I say get there 5mins early and when it’s delayed it’s probably one of your fellow train operator protesters.

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