Man left stranded after falling asleep on train

12:00 26 April 2012

Geoff Berry wrote a heated letter to First Great Western explaining what he had been through.

Geoff Berry wrote a heated letter to First Great Western explaining what he had been through.

Archant

After falling asleep on a late-night train, a Barnstaple man ended up walking 20-miles through the night to get home.

A MAN had to walk five hours through the night after falling asleep on the train and ending up in the middle of nowhere.

Geoff Berry was due to arrive at Barnstaple around midnight on the train from Exeter, but he dozed off and was startled when he woke up to find himself travelling in the opposite direction.

Mr Berry, from Barnstaple, had visited friends in Reading for the day on April 6 and had been exhausted after a 7am start.

He said: “I woke up around 12.20am, and realising that we were moving and there was no one else on the train, I went and found the guard.

“I said to him I had meant to get off in Barnstaple but had fallen asleep. He told me I would have to go back to Exeter and get a taxi home.

“I was furious. I asked him who exactly was going to pay for this taxi, and after a rather heated debate, he agreed to let me off at Eggesford.”

Stranded around 20 miles from home in the dead of the night, the 52-year-old had no one to call, and started the long walk home, hoping to be able to hitch a lift.

But, cold and angry, he trekked for five hours not seeing another soul and arrived home at around 6am.

“It took me all weekend to recover,” he said. “I was angry that the guard had not checked the train for passengers before starting the journey back to Exeter.

“The guard told me he had announced twice over the tannoy that we had arrived, but I didn’t think that a good enough response. There were only two carriages on the train. It would not have taken much to check them.”

Mr Berry wrote to First Great Western, which runs the Tarka Line service from Exeter to Barnstaple, complaining about his experience.

In a reply, the company said it was ‘genuinely sorry that you feel so let down’ but it would not be offering any compensation.

The letter read: “If the train is due to return to the depot after its last journey, then there is an obligation on our crew to proactively check the train for passengers, before it leaves.

“However, this is a moot point in the circumstances in question, as when our 22:52 train left Barnstaple, it was still operating as a public service (not returning to the depot).

“Ultimately the final onus of responsibility remains on each customer in ensuring they leave the train in time.”

In response, Mr Berry said: “I had not realised it was still a passenger train, I had thought it was just travelling back to the depot.

“Even so, there are only two carriages, and I don’t think it would have taken much for them to check before they set off.”

6 comments

  • Yes, people do have responsibility for their actions, but sometimes unexpected incidents happen and we have to deal with them. So if your wife-mother-daughter phoned up from Exeter at 1am and said they had to get a taxi back after falling asleep on the train, would you say "You snooze you lose" and turn over? It's always easy to criticise when it's happening to someone else.

    Report this comment

    W Rowe, Barnstaple

    Tuesday, May 1, 2012

  • Well it's always someone else's fault isn't it? He was on the last train from Barnstaple, he was asleep on it. The staff do not go waking people up on that last train until it gets to Exeter, it's final stop. It's after that it goes onto the depot, so he fell asleep and that is the fault of the train operating company?

    Report this comment

    thatslife

    Monday, April 30, 2012

  • Its beyond belief the driver could not check as there was every possibility someone would fall asleep late at night caused by the gentle movement of the train. Still it could have been worse he might have had to pay more...

    Report this comment

    David Glaholm

    Thursday, April 26, 2012

  • But this bloke fell asleep, then demanded someone paid for a taxi! He was not on an empty stock train, it's the return passenger service. It only goes to the depot after that. The guard gave him good advice, it's easier to get a taxi at Exeter than Eggesford. I'd be interested in seeing the recordings of his attitude towards the guard as well. They have to put up with some real choice characters on these late night trains hence the CCTV cameras.

    Report this comment

    thatslife

    Tuesday, May 1, 2012

  • It does sound as if the rail staff were not exactly sympathetic to their passenger - who after all in effect pays their wages. I would have thought it was regulation procedure to ensure all passengers had departed before leaving the last station? What if the sleeping passenger had been a pregnant woman, a very elderly person or some other vulnerable type? Now I am reminded why I prefer to drive...

    Report this comment

    W Rowe, Barnstaple

    Thursday, April 26, 2012

  • Can't believe you lot! How long did it take for you to wriggle out of the cotton wool? You snooze-You lose.Lesson for life.

    Report this comment

    Bigjop

    Thursday, April 26, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Other News Stories

8 minutes ago
An artist's impression of how the food and retail area of Anchorwood Bank will look once completed

The fashion retailer will be expanding its presence in the town with a 10,500-square-foot shop

Read more
Yesterday, 11:48
The former Leaderflush Shapland factory in Barnstaple. Picture: Andy Keeble

Oliver Buildings are Grade II listed in recognition of their architectural or historic interest.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:00
Aaron Hunt is off to the prestigious Bird College this month.

Marwood teenager is off to top drama school this September

Read more
Thu, 15:57
It was a full house at Torridge District Council's plans committee today (Thursday).

Torridge District Councillors have refused plans for 200 new houses - despite officers recommending Heywood Road plans for approval.

Read more
Thu, 15:22
Westward Ho! teenager Yazzy Chamberlain is releasing an album

Yazzy holding launch event for ‘Silly boys breaking hearts’ on Sunday

Read more
Thu, 14:40
Bideford's Torridge Bridge.

The 82-year-old from Fremington suffered with depression but inquest heard his death came as ‘complete shock’.

Read more
Thu, 14:24
Chelfham Mill. Picture: Nicholas Mutton

Principal says private school will looks to re-register once police investigation is complete.

Read more
Thu, 13:03
Mark and Emma Smale with Imogen and her sister Evie. Picture: Sarah Howells

Friends and family are hoping to raise £9,000 to buy a water therapy unit for young Bideford girl with life-limiting illness.

Read more
Thu, 09:18
This year's festival at Castle Hill was a wet and muddy affair

July’s wet weather left Castle Hill in ‘worst condition for 26 years’

Read more
Thu, 08:05
Angelina and Patrick Montague outside of the new Monty's Caribbean Kitchen restaurant.

New Barnstaple restaurant will bring a taste of the West Indies to Barnstaple.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 17°C

min temp: 6°C

Most Read News

Great British Life


Great British Life

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition today E-edition


North Devon's trusted business finder