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Mother: ‘You put his life in danger’

Maymorn Station where Brooklyn Topham-Evans got off on Sunday night. PHOTO/FILE

Wairarapa boy, 13, kicked off train at night
Metlink investigating train incident

KAREN COLTMAN
[email protected]

In the dark, and in wet, cold weather, 13-year-old Brooklyn Topham-Evans walked through the Maymorn train tunnel so he wouldn’t get lost after been kicked off the Wairarapa train to Masterton on Sunday night for not having his fare.

He had no phone coverage and walked for two hours to get help.

He was later asked if he was all right by a Department of Corrections officer who saw him crying as he walked along the riverbank near the Rimutaka Caltex petrol station.

He said, “no I am not”.

She then took him home to his mother’s place in Upper Hutt.

Brooklyn has every second weekend with his mum, Ally Topham, and for about 18 months he has been catching the Sunday night train back home to Carterton to be with his dad Joseph Evans and his partner Alyshia Archer for the weekdays.

Unfortunately, after his mum gave her son the $5 train fare to Carterton on Sunday, he lost it between getting out of the car and walking to the train.

It is understood the guards said he had to get off the train at Maymorn as he had no fare.

Archer said Brooklyn panicked and did what he was told.

When Brooklyn didn’t disembark at the Carterton station, his dad and stepmum followed the train by car to Masterton, but the teen wasn’t there. Archer said the two male guards didn’t recall letting a boy off anywhere. And they couldn’t get a hold of Brooklyn because there is virtually no mobile phone coverage at Maymorn.

His mother had not heard from him either.

Archer emailed Metlink asking for an explanation on Monday morning.

At time of publication, she had not heard back other than being told they were looking into the matter.

“I am appalled and disgusted,” Archer said.

“You put his life in danger. I want answers and someone to take responsibility for what has happened.”

Archer said Brooklyn’s dad was furious with Metlink.

The company contracts to Transdev which manages the staffing arrangements. Metlink is investigating the incident.

Metlink general manager Scott Gallacher said he understood the concerns of the family and would ensure the incident was thoroughly investigated.

“The safety and well-being of our passengers is paramount,” Gallacher said.

“We have in place very clear rules and procedures designed to ensure our passengers, and in particular those who are vulnerable, are safe when travelling.

“If we need to change our rules to better protect the safety of passengers, the travelling public can be assured that’s what we will do.

“We are extremely relieved that the boy turned up safe and unharmed.

“However, we are very disappointed that this has happened and will work closely with the family in establishing the circumstances and on what we can learn from the situation.”

There will be no further comment from Metlink during the investigation.

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