Alanah Eriksen is the New Zealand Herald's deputy chief of staff

Train leaves with boys but not mum

Jamie-Lee Johnson with sons Jade, left, and Justin at Te Mahia railway station. Photo / Dean Purcell
Jamie-Lee Johnson with sons Jade, left, and Justin at Te Mahia railway station. Photo / Dean Purcell

A pregnant Auckland mother watched in horror as a train's doors closed, cutting her off from her three young sons and leaving her stranded on the platform as it left a South Auckland station.

Five months pregnant, Jamie-Lee Johnson ran more than 2km down the tracks after the train.

The Takanini family were catching a 7.32am train on Wednesday, heading one stop down the line to Te Mahia where Justin, 10, Lorenzo, 9, and Jade, 7, attend a Manurewa school.

"I was getting on the train with my kids and my kids managed to get on and I didn't. As the doors closed I was yelling out to the conductor to reopen the doors..." Ms Johnson said.

"I was just freaking out, I didn't know what to do because all I could see was my son standing there from inside the train crying.

"I wanted to jump onto the train and not let go.

"So I started chasing after the train and I ran all the way from Takanini to Te Mahia train station, partly on the train lines but then I realised it wasn't so safe so I switched to the main road."

A passenger on the train saw the incident unfold and waited with the crying children at Te Mahia until Ms Johnson arrived, she said.

Ms Johnson took the boys to school, before making a complaint to Auckland Transport, which referred her to Veolia.

Veolia spokeswoman Michelle Roach said CCTV footage showed two of the children running down the platform to get on the train as its bells were ringing, signalling the doors were closing.

Ms Johnson was then seen pushing her third child through a "tiny gap" in the doors, she said.

The conductor did not see the woman, Ms Roach said.

"The issue is, with a big train, with the train manager at the other end of the train ... without waving her hands or making any broad expressions, [Ms Johnson] has not communicated very clearly that she wanted to get on the train as well, or that there was an issue. It's a very tricky situation."

Ms Johnson said she did not accept that version of the incident.

- NZ Herald

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