Northern Rail apologise for bed race train chaos

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Northern Rail have apologised after chaotic scenes on Saturday as people struggled to get to and from the bed race by train.

Hundreds of people were left stranded on platforms and those who managed to get on board were ‘squashed like sardines’ after Northern Rail failed to provide extra carriages or services.

Louise Terzza boarded the train to Knaresborough at Harrogate station, she said: “It was a joke to be honest.

“I got the 12:35 train and we were packed on like sardines. I was meeting friends getting on a Starbeck but they couldn’t get on and I couldn’t get off.

Bilton resident, Alan Huddart, got the 12:05 train from Harrogate. He said: “Staff were shouting at people to move down the train but it was full before Starbeck, the train must have left 40 or 50 people behind.

Joanna Livesey from Harrogate eventually gave up and got a taxi to the event after being unable to get on two trains.

“We missed the parade but still saw the race,” she said.

“I felt really sorry for people with children as it is a proper family day out.”

County Coun David Simister blasted Northern Rail for the service

He said: “The Bed Race has been happening for 48 years I thought they would get it right, especially with the weather forecast they had.

“By the time the train got to Harrogate station it was like a cattle truck.

“They got it wrong, they should have had more trains and more carriages.”

Northern Rail have blamed the shambolic service on cable thefts at Todmordon on the Leeds to Manchester line.

A spokesperson said: “In that situation as much as we plan to put extra carriages on we were in a position of having to cancel services or run less services than we could in another place.

“Because of the platform size and single track parts of the route there is a limit to how many extra carriages a train can carry.”

She added: “That said it was a very busy day. We will be reviewing the situation to learn lessons for next year.

“We are sorry for the people unable to get on trains. We are very sorry about that.”

Nigel Perry, Chair of Knaresborough Lions who organise the event said the bed race organisers give Northern Rail plenty of notice for the annual event.

“We let them know four to five months a head of time,” he said.

“Next year we hope to have a full meeting before the event.”