Drinking alcohol will not be prohibited on the UK train network, a safety regulator confirmed today after reports that it could be banned.
Buying or consuming booze on board trains will not be outlawed and reports saying that it would be are “totally wrong,” the Rail Safety Standards Board confirmed to the Independent.
Despite media reports that “pre-loading” party passengers will no longer be allowed to get a head-start to intoxication by drinking during their journeys, it emerges that this is not actually the case.
The reason for the alleged ban was the number of fatalities that had occurred on the network with drunkenness being a cause.
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Out of 17 deaths of passengers, staff and the public in 2014, excluding suicides and trespass, alcohol was a factor in two of them.
Although intoxication is one risk factor among many in injury or fatal cases, there is no plan to ban drinking on the network, a spokesperson for the board said.
Agreements on how to manage drunk passengers will be made to work in conjunction with existing laws and by-laws, rather than with a rumoured new blanket ban imposed by a “nanny state”.
Drinking is banned on trains in Scotland – however only between 9pm and 10am.
Localised restrictions are sometimes also put in place for events such as rowdy football matches, where a “dry train” policy can be enforced so no one can buy or drink alcohol during a particular journey, the spokesperson added.
Newspapers quoted a safety strategy report published last month by RSSB to “back-up” speculations that there would be a total ban, however the board confirmed that bans referred to existing laws that are sometimes enforced.
The report says: “This formalised agreement will be supported by investigation into additional legislation and policy that could be used to support the management of intoxicated passengers, for example banning the sale and consumption of alcohol on trains (similar to TfL).”
On 1 March last year, a person died after falling on the track at Shepherd’s Bush station. Alcohol was reported as a potential factor, according to the safety report.
A teenager fell from the platform onto the track and was electrocuted to death at Horley station on 7 April and drunkenness was also recorded as a possible cause.
Transport for London banned drinking alcohol on all underground lines, stations and buses in 2008. Being in possession of open cans and bottles of alcohol is also prohibited.