EXCLUSIVE: By Phil Marsh
Thames Valley Police firearms officers identified a gap in their training needs earlier in 2017 after being called to a Chiltern Railways train at High Wycombe following reports of an armed passenger on board.
As a result, in late summer a confidential meeting was held at Chinnor station on the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway with Chiltern Railways and the police force to see if a railway training package could be set up.
The purpose was to train armed response non-British Transport Police teams in railway safety and to develop tactics to tackle various dangerous on-train life-threatening scenarios if the BTP were not close to the incident. A railway safety briefing including three sorts of electrification in the TVP area which includes Reading, Amersham and Milton Keynes was delivered by CPRR volunteers.
All four Fridays in November were agreed when nominally the heritage line was not operating trains. All information was embargoed until the last day’s training had been completed on November 24.
Chiltern Railways provided a three-car Class 165 train each day between the morning and evening peaks with the CPRR providing a four-carriage Mk.1 set for the first two hours for briefing, railway familiarisation and practice boarding from the cess using ladders.
It was agreed that CPRR’s neighbours should be leafleted beforehand to avoid panic over volleys of gunshots at the station – and within an hour it was on social media!
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