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Last Updated: Monday, 27 February 2006, 08:25 GMT
Train travellers' fears on safety
Arriva Train
The RMT union has called for an increase in policing on trains
Rail passengers are more worried about their safety at stations in Wales than in the rest of the UK, says a report.

Watchdog group Passenger Focus said only 54% of travellers with Wales' main train operator Arriva are satisfied about their personal safety at stations, against 59% across the UK.

Arriva said it invested heavily in security and had urged staff to report potential problems straight away.

The firm also said abuse and violence were problems throughout the industry.

BBC Wales' Eye on Wales programme has investigated the problem on the rail network.

It's just as bad for the staff - they shouldn't have to put up with it either
Witness to rail violence
Brian Curtis, of the main rail union RMT described one incident where fighting on the trains had spilled onto the platform, and a "bunch of drunks" tried to break into the driver's cab.

He also described how troublemakers had climbed onto the roof of one train.

One witness to a disturbance at Ystrad station in Rhondda said it was "horrendous".

The woman said about 30 young people who had been drinking or taking drugs had forced a train to stop for 40 minutes.

Kicked in the head

The witness said it left passengers feeling unsafe, but added: "I think it's just as bad for the staff - they shouldn't have to put up with it either."

One British Transport Police officer, Sgt Mark Clelland, needed major surgery to rebuild his face and months off work after an attack at Treorchy.

He was trying to make arrests last December when he was knocked over, surrounded by a gang of more than 100 youths at Treorchy, Rhondda, and was kicked in the head while unconscious.

"I could have been killed," said Sgt Clelland.

The problem is not just Arriva's - it's a national problem within the railway industry
Mike Hurley, Arriva

Train drivers, guards and stationmasters have also reported being subjected to abuse almost daily.

Rhondda Assembly Member Leighton Andrews said there was no simple solution, but issues such as surveillance, security guards, more British Transport Police officers and unstaffed stations all had to be examined.

"Obviously we want to see investment being made and I'm glad the Welsh Assembly Government is putting money into this," said Mr Andrews.

Arriva's head of stations Mike Hurley said very often trains were seen as an easy target.

"In recent months we have had problems between Pontypridd and Treherbert - those have been addressed," he said.

"We've invested heavily in additional security... travelling on trains, at stations themselves, and encouraging staff to report immediately where they see problems in advance.

"The problem is not just Arriva's - it's a national problem within the railway industry."

Eye on Wales is on BBC Radio Wales at 1802GMT on Monday.




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Mark Clelland needed major surgery after being attacked



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