Bemused passengers on the 05:19hrs Portsmouth Harbour to Waterloo train this morning were surprised when told by the train guard to move to the right hand side of the train between Haslemere and Guildford where the train was taken out of service due to a failure of it's Ballast Management System.
'Most passengers don't realise that our new Siemans built trains have a ballast management system which stabilises the train carriages when going round bends,' said Tony Cocking, Chief Engineer for South West Trains. 'Ships use water for ballast management but we use a low viscosity oil. A series of barrier valves failed which meant the oil was unable to flow freely from side to side requiring all passengers to sit and stand on the port side of the train to maintain stability at reduced speed until the train safely reached Guildford. All Portsmouth bound trains were halted at Woking but only for a short time.'
Another spokesman for South West Trains thanked passengers for their cooperation and apologised for any inconvenience incurred. Most passengers took the incident in their stride with Bill McDuff, a regular Haslemere commuter commenting, 'It's all a bit of a laugh really, surely it must have been an April Fool?'