A GROUP of teenage BMX enthusiasts from East Lancashire were left stranded at an unmanned train station in Blackpool at 10pm on Saturday.
Six friends, aged between 13 and 15, had travelled to the coastal resort earlier in the day to visit a BMX park in the town and had planned to return on the 10.04pm train from Squires Gate.
But when they arrived at the station they were told by the train guard that only three of them were allowed in with bikes, and the other three would have to wait for the next train, which was an hour and a half later.
That train was then delayed until past midnight and only travelled as far as Preston, leaving the youngsters unable to get home.
Liz Winkley-Riding, of Feniscowles, whose 13-year-old son Ellis was one of the three to get on the first train, said they faced a regular battle with train authorities.
She said: “They are not causing trouble, they just want to ride their bikes and exercise yet this happens all the time.
“Every weekend the lads travel to Clitheroe, Preston, Blackpool or Leeds to use BMX parks, but often the train guards will stop some of them getting on.
“If the train isn’t busy then I don’t see the problem, they are not doing anything wrong.”
Another parent had to go and collect the remaining three youngsters from Preston station at around 12.40am.
She said: “It is absolutely ridiculous, I could understand if it was rush hour and there was limited space but the train was virtually empty.
“When I got the phone call I was incredibly worried.
“I can’t believe anybody would just leave three young teenagers on their own at an empty train station at that time of night, it’s crazy.
“They had all got tickets and were all behaving. They are good lads so I just don’t understand why they would be so petty.”
After collecting the youngsters she had to take one back to Burnley before returning to Blackburn.
Northern Rail said it was investigating the complaint yesterday and apologised for any inconvenience caused but were unable to make further comment.
However, their website states their cycle policy as: “All our trains our able to accommodate two cycles, our guards will advise you where to store your cycle.
“If more than two bikes need to travel we will do the best we can to accommodate you.
“However, safety comes first and you may be asked to await the next service.”