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AN INVESTIGATION has been launched after a train approaching Leeds City Station split in two, forcing passengers to jump onto the track to reach safety.
Around 40 people were stranded in the separated rear section of the train when it broke down and the two sections detached.
With help from the guard, who was at the rear of the train, they were evacuated and walked along the tracks to the safety of the station.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) said the incident on Wednesday had “caused mayhem,” pointing out that it highlighted the importance of keeping guards on trains.
The incident threw local rail services into chaos, with hundreds of passengers stuck on station platforms in Leeds as the train blocked the line.
The Northern Rail service left Manchester Victoria station at 1.25pm and was pulling in to Leeds at 3.15pm when the train carriage decoupled and separated.
Dozens of services were cancelled and disruption continued across the North until after 8pm.
General secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT awaits the findings from the investigation into this potentially horrific incident but once again it demonstrates the need to have a guard on Northern Rail trains to deal with these emergency situations.
“What we do know is that there was a guard on board this service who was at the rear of the train with the full suite of safety competencies for exactly this kind of situation.
“What would have happened on a driver-only service with no guard on board? Who would have ensured that the passengers were safely evacuated along the track?
“The threat to axe guards on Northern Rail should be lifted and lifted now.”
A spokesman for Northern Rail said: “At around 3.10pm a train broke down as it approached Leeds station
“The train, a Class 150, divided on the approach to the station. There were no injuries to any customers or staff and all on board were safely evacuated.”
Leeds, on the East Coast Main Line from London Kings Cross to Edinburgh, is Britain’s fourth busiest station, handling 30 million passengers a year.
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