Two girls hit as ceiling collapses on Southern Rail train

'So Southern Rail trains are literally falling apart, right on top of us!' tweets one of the passengers onboard

Jess Staufenberg
Thursday 18 August 2016 15:37 BST
The panel fell to reveal black wires and sockets in the roof en route to Victoria station
The panel fell to reveal black wires and sockets in the roof en route to Victoria station (Kate Baxter/Twitter)

The roof of a Southern Rail train carriage appears to have "literally fallen apart" after part of the ceiling came crashing down into the aisle among shocked London commuters.

Two girls were hit by a section of the overhead ceiling which fell on top of them as they were en route to Victoria station in the morning.

Pictures of the incident on social media were the latest in a series of blows to Govia Thameslink Rail (GTR) which owns the embattled Southern netowrk.

The company is already entrenched in a union dispute, delayed and cancelled trains and several customer protests about its Southern service.

Kate Baxter, a passenger in the carriage, tweeted: "So Southern Rail trains are literally falling apart, right on top of us! Thankfully no one hurt, just shaken."

Her picture showed a dusty metal panel at least one metre in width and slightly more in length lying in the aisle. The exposed ceiling revealed black wires and sockets.

The panel fell at about 8am en route between Tattenham Corner and Victoria on 18 August in the capital.

Ms Baxter continued in a series of tweets: "Two girls were hit when [the panel] fell and are bruised - no one available to check them over other than calling for an ambulance."

The pair got off at East Croydon and were advised to seek medical attention themselves, she added.

GTR has already faced protests from hundreds of passengers over a reduced timetable which the company said was necessary in the face of staff pulling sick days and striking.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) said that proposals to change the role of onboard conductors so they no longer close the doors but have a "more customer service-based job" was an attempt to sideline their jobs. GTR have said no one will lose their positions.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has called for the network to be returned to public service, while London mayor Sadiq Khan has also called for its temporary re-nationalisation.

In relation to the incident with the roof panel, a Southern spokesperson said: "Reports have been received of a ceiling panel dislodging in one of the carriages on the 07.45 Southern service from Tattenham Corner to Victoria.

"Southern staff at East Croydon station boarded the train to attend to passengers and it was reported at the time that there were no injuries. The cause of this incident is currently unknown and will be investigated fully.

"We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused."

In September last year, Southern had the worst punctuality record of all train operators in the country and recent figures show it remains poor compared to other providers. GTR acquired it in July last year and has said ongoing delays and difficulties have been worsened by construction at London Bridge.

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