A university student who risked her life as she chased a train over a rail viaduct in a desperate bid to retrieve assignments she had left on board said she was “embarrassed” by what happened and insisted the incident was the result of a misunderstanding.
The 34-year-old woman, who lives in Brierfield and studies at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston, had left the train to buy a ticket at Burnley Central Station after her bank card was declined by a conductor’s chip and pin machine.
She was advised by the conductor to get off and buy a ticket from the kiosk at the next stop but as she was about to get back on the train it pulled out of Burnley Central.
She then gave chase along the line, forcing a train coming the other way to grind to a halt.
Railway staff eventually stopped her and called police. She was later quizzed on suspicion of trespassing on a railway line and issued with a £50 fixed penalty notice.
The woman, who is studying for a masters degree at and came to the UK from Pakistan in August, said she just panicked when she saw the train move away from the station. She was travelling from Brierfield to Preston on the Colne to Blackpool train.
“I didn’t know I would be fined,” she said. If I’d have known I wouldn’t have done it. I was buying a ticket and I looked over and saw the train moving away.
“I was just crying because I had two assignments on there on a USB stick which needed to be handed in. I also lost my bank card while I was on the track. It was a complete misunderstanding. I just panicked.
“In Pakistan it’s not unusual for people to be on the track but here the police asked me if I had mental health problems. It’s so embarrassing.”
Insp. Adrian Yorston, from British Transport Police, said: “The woman’s actions were foolhardy and completely irresponsible.
“Thankfully she wasn’t injured as a result of trespassing but that is only through good luck and the awareness of rail staff.”
A Northern Rail spokeswoman added: “We would like to remind passengers to take their belongings with them when they leave the train to reduce incidents such as this happening again. Not only did the woman’s actions cause delays to others but she also put own safety at risk by trespassing on the tracks.
“We ask that all passengers boarding at a station that has an open ticket office or a ticket vending machine (TVM), to purchase tickets before getting on the train.
“This particular passenger made the decision to leave the train at Burnley Central to purchase a ticket after her card was declined on-board.”