Southeastern passengers were so frustrated by delays yesterday evening that they abandoned their train and walked down the tracks.

As the rail conductor carries 750 volts of electricity, Southeastern had no choice but to turn the power off when passengers forced open the train doors outside Lewisham station on Friday evening (March 2).

The “serious trespass incident”, to which British Transport Police, the Met Police and London Fire Brigade attended, happened just after 5.30pm and caused even more severe delays.

Passengers, some of whom had been stranded for more than five hours, complained of the cold, lack of power, toilets, and communication from Southeastern.

One commuter tweeted: “Just letting you know that I got home safely Southeastern three hours and 40 minutes later.

“Nice walk down the tracks at Lewisham.

“What a disgrace you lot are. No toilets, no power, no communication, no care.

“Tapped out though so at least you got paid.”

Others said passengers were suffering panic attacks from the cramped conditions and a woman reportedly wet herself as the toilets were locked.

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A Southeastern spokesman said: “We completely understand that passengers on delayed and busy trains may be frustrated, but they simply must stay on the train for their own safety.

“These trespassers risk being electrocuted by the ‘third’ rail or hit by other trains.

“They're also causing significant further delay for other passengers that our staff are working hard to get home.”

British Transport Police said in a tweet that "all available officers" had been deployed to evacuate passengers trapped on trains in the area.

Mick Cash, leader of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union said the incident “raised some serious issues about the capacity of Britain's railways to cope with added pressures from adverse weather” and called for a “full and transparent investigation” into rail issues faced in the last week.

A Network Rail spokesman said it was “incredibly irresponsible and dangerous” to trespass on the tracks.

He said: “Our team were on site manually de-icing the rail when at 6.45pm passengers began climbing off the train and onto the tracks.

“Safety is our primary concern and the conductor rail in the south east carries 750 volts of electricity, which is more than enough to kill.

“In the event of trespassers on the railway we have to turn the power off for their safety.

“It is incredibly irresponsible and dangerous to trespass on the railway and unfortunately this has meant we have to delay many other passengers who recognise the danger and stay on their trains.”

Southeastern had cleared trespassers from the tracks and restored power by 10.15pm, allowing trains to move again.