King’s Cross was more dangerous than Jordan, says passenger with Parkinson’s

John Hinson said he felt safer while on holiday in the Middle East than waiting for a train at King’s Cross station.

Danielle Desouza
Saturday 21 October 2023 18:52 BST
There were crowds of people waiting for trains at King’s Cross station (@armstrong_Luce/Luce Armstrong/PA)
There were crowds of people waiting for trains at King’s Cross station (@armstrong_Luce/Luce Armstrong/PA)

A retired man with Parkinson’s disease has said he felt safer on holiday in Jordan than dealing with the “dangerous” situation which awaited him as he got a train home from King’s Cross station.

John Hinson, 61, who lives in North Ferriby, East Yorkshire, arrived in London on Friday after a two-week holiday to Jordan.

He said people were “crashing against the barrier” as they flocked for trains at King’s Cross and his assistance was cancelled before he boarded a Hull Trains service to Brough on Saturday morning.

“It was just so dangerous,” he told the PA news agency.

“I have Parkinson’s and I have difficulty walking, so my wife (Joanna, 61) went to ask for assistance and all assistance was cancelled.

“We were basically told that if we cannot get the train, we need to cancel and come back again.”

He said the assistance would have been a wheelchair to the train, but as this was not arranged for him, he “just made” the train, “shuffling” behind his wife who had to drag two large suitcases.

“I took my medication early to ensure I had enough dopamine in my system to cope.

“There did not seem to be any police about or any management,” he added.

“When I got to the station, one noticeboard said the train was delayed and another said it was cancelled, so it was hard to know exactly what was happening with the train.

“The platform number was eventually announced and there was a mad rush to get to it – people were jumping over and pushing through the gaps in the barrier, so there was a lot of chaos trying to get on a train.”

He said that the Hull train was due to leave at 9.48am and was half an hour late, having waited a further 10 minutes for passengers at King’s Cross, and arrived in Brough about 12.50pm.

“When we were on holiday in Jordan, there was a lot of police activity, but never one time where I felt threatened, it was quite safe.

“That was not the case at King’s Cross this morning as there was a high chance of a crush,” he said.

Luce Armstrong, 24, from London, said she experienced “absolute chaos” at the station.

“I’m surprised nobody was hurt, there were children and older people with no assistance getting through the very frustrated crowds that were getting more and more crushed,” she told PA.

“There were no clear instructions for the crowd at all, nobody had any idea what was going on.

“Thankfully, after I queued for around two hours I got through.”

“The lack of communication was frustrating for everyone. They eventually came and put some barriers up to try to create some space.”

She planned to get the 9.33am train to Leeds, which did not run, but she was able to get on a train which left at 11am and said LNER staff were “great and made sure everyone in our carriage had water and even food”.

A spokesperson from Network Rail said: “While many of the country’s rail services are running well today, we’re sorry to say that there is still severe disruption in areas worst-hit by Storm Babet, including Scotland, the North East and East Midlands.

“In particular, King’s Cross station has crowd-control measures in place this afternoon while LNER services to the North East are severely disrupted.

“We are asking people to check before they travel today, to avoid wasted journeys.”

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