Kids left stranded as train pulls away
A Porirua mum on an outing to Paraparaumu was separated from two of her young children when a train’s doors closed before she could follow them on to the platform.
Lauren Petersen, of Whitby, frantically pushed the button to open the doors, but nothing happened, and the train started to pull out of Paremata station on Monday evening.
Five-year-old Chelsea and 3-year-old Zara were left standing alone on the platform as Petersen and 1-year-old Georgia headed for the next stop at Porirua.
She pleaded with a TransDev staffer to stop the train, but says he told her ‘‘I’m sorry’’, before racing to the front of the train.
Petersen took the children for a school holiday trip to Paraparaumu on Monday last week. When the 5.20pm service from Waikanae got back to Paremata, she told Chelsea and Zara to get off first.
‘‘I pressed the button to open the doors and said, ‘Hop off, girls’, and they took a big step.
‘‘They stepped out and then the doors started to shut on the front of my pram.
‘‘I tried to press the button to open the door but it didn’t do anything, and the next thing the train starts to move.’’
In panic, she looked for an emergency stop button but couldn’t find one.
She begged the train staffer to stop the train.
‘‘The first thing I said was, ‘You need to stop the train’. I said, ‘How the f... did you let this hap- pen?’, then I obviously broke into tears and started shaking.’’
Once the train got to Porirua, the staffer offered to find out when the next Paremata-bound train was due, but Petersen called police instead, who were able to check on Chelsea and Zara through cameras.
A police spokeswoman confirmed a call was received about 6pm.
‘‘Traffic operations centre cameras were able to be utilised to sight the children on the platform, the station’s CCTV who it appeared were being looked after by a member of the public,’’ the spokeswoman said. ‘‘A police vehicle was dispatched to the station but was stood down as the mother arrived first.’’
A stranger who saw the incident and got off at Porirua gave Petersen a ride back to Paremata.
TransDev spokeswoman Emily Liddell said it appeared the train was incorrectly given the all-clear to leave the station.
‘‘There were other passengers disembarking at the station. I believe the staff member thought the children were with their parents, and they gave the right of way to say passengers were clear of the door.’’
The error would be followed up by the company, Liddell said. However, she believed the correct procedure was followed, as the staff member immediately alerted TransDev’s control centre, which monitored CCTV cameras.
Petersen described the incident as ‘‘probably one of the worst experiences of my life’’.
Lauren Petersen with daughters, from left, Chelsea, Zara and Georgia.