Race-goers fight for space on train
POLICE had to be called as dozens of race-goers waiting to get home fought for space on a train which arrived with just one carriage.
Officers were diverted to Uttoxeter railway station after around 70 people tried to squeeze onto the East Midlands Train service back to Stoke-on-Trent following the end of Saturday's race meeting in the town.
But the driver of the 6.08pm Derby to Crewe train refused to set off until some of the passengers got off.
Catering assistant Paula Jones had collected vouchers from The Sentinel to go to the races with pal Dawn Roberts and their two 14-year-old daughters.
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But she said: "On the 6.08pm there were loads of folk trying to get on. We were like sardines and they couldn't shut the doors.
"There were kids screaming and then the driver said people would have to get off otherwise the train wouldn't go. But no-one would get off and people were shouting and bawling, and then a couple of fights broke out at the bottom end."
Daughter Amy said: "It wasn't very nice and there were loads of drunk people. We had a really nice day, but I don't feel as though I want to go there again."
Ms Roberts, aged 49, from Biddulph, is dubious about using the service again.
She added: "It was very intimidating. There was minor panic when such a small train turned up.
"The platform was heaving, to the point where they could not all get on and they started fighting at the bottom end."
Police were called at about 6.30pm and removed some of the people who were refusing to get off.
The train left at 7pm and passengers forced off the service caught the three-carriage 7.08pm service.
Office worker Linda Brain, from Smallthorne, tried to board the train with four other people after a group of 12 went to the races for her sister's birthday.
The 47-year-old, who also got on the later train, said most race-goers had wanted to catch the 6.08pm train because the last race was 5pm.
She said: "There was all this pushing and there were a lot of people out for themselves.
"Young girls were crying because things had been said and others were scratched. It was ridiculous."
An East Midlands Trains spokesman was unable to explain what had happened because the relevant people were not working yesterday.
But she said: "We apologise to anybody who was inconvenienced. We do what we can to strengthen services – for instance the 7.08pm was scheduled to be one carriage but was upgraded to three.
"We only have so many longer trains within our fleet and they are running all the time."