In the August 2011 edition of Modern Railways magazine, Alan Williams writes a great piece castigating the railway operators in Britain at the regular incidents of "kettling" passengers in trains due to failures and similar distruptions. Kettling is the word used by the police to describe how they contain people in street demonstrations and it seems that railway operators are doing the same to passengers, leaving them stranded for hours in trains with no information, no food or water and many of them standing.
Whatever happened to the "keep things moving" mentality of the railway? "Not any more, Guv", they will tell you. "We haven't got the authority/staff/safety case/equipment" (delete which not applicable). Why not? Surely the safety and comfort of passengers is top of the list and this includes safety from heat exhaustion, malnutrition, dehydration and physical collapse?
Alan, in his article, rightly suggests there needs to be a system in place for the timely evacuation of trains in such cases. There should also be training for staff on the ground as to how to move trains under failure conditions. The technology is available - it's not difficult to use it so, let's do it.