Southeastern commuter's fury after being threatened with court and a £1,000 fine after falling asleep and missing his stop

A COMMUTER has expressed his anger after he was threatened with court action and a £1,000 fine for falling asleep on a train and missing his stop.

Graphic designer Neil Armstrong nodded off as he took a train from London Victoria to Barming in Kent after a day’s work in the capital.

The 46-year-old woke up seconds after the train left his stop and was fined despite holding an annual £4,500 season ticket and pleading with ticket inspectors to show some common sense.

He coughed up an initial £19.10, but lodged an appeal which he was told was unsuccessful and was ordered to pay another £21.80.

The company’s rules state anyone with outstanding fines could face prosecution or be fined a further £1,000.

Mr Armstrong said: “I jumped on the Ashford train at Victoria and I sat down and started listening to music and, with the rocking motion of the train, I fell asleep.

“Normally I wake up a couple of stations before my stop but this time I woke up and we were pulling out of Barming.

“I thought I would just get off at Maidstone and get a train back to Barming. There are usually no barriers, but there were six or seven people checking tickets.”

Mr Armstrong, of Allington, near Maidstone, said he’s been loyal to Southeastern for 25 years and has paid the company at least £80,000 in that time.

The father-of-three even offered to pay the difference in the fare from Barming to the next stop, Maidstone East, on June 1.



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He said: “I understand there are rules but surely there has got to be some common sense?

“There was no real response from Southeastern.

"It just said my appeal has been unsuccessful and that it was my responsibility to get off at the right station.

“I feel betrayed. It doesn’t really give you a great service as it is. I feel totally let down by its pettiness.

“I went for the first appeal and I thought common-sense would prevail but it didn’t.

“It was one stop and it wasn’t like I didn’t have a ticket.”

Train operator Southeastern only relented on the fine when Mr Armstrong complained to his local newspaper, the Kent Messenger.

A spokesman for the train company said: “The appeal is being re-logged by IPFAS (Independent Penalty Fares) and a refund of £19.10 will be processed as soon as possible.

“A member of the IPFAS team will be in touch with Mr Armstrong in due course.”

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