Rail workmen ‘wolf-whistled and shouted’ at Hastings mum

Julia Harris. Picture by SWNS
Julia Harris. Picture by SWNS

A mother-of-one from Hastings has blasted a railway company, claiming a number of its workers ‘wolf-whistled and shouted’ at her at a train station.

Julia Harris, 34, of The Ridge, has lodged a complaint to Network Rail, saying she felt intimidated when she was at Tunbridge Wells station in Kent late at night.

The mother-of-one was the only person waiting for a train on the platform at around 12.30am when the men from the opposite platform allegedly harassed her, she said.

The former journalist had attended an awards ceremony for the Chartered Institute of Public Relations in London on the night of Wednesday, June 8, when she was on the way back home to 1066 country.

Ms Harris said: “I had to get the train from London Bridge and change at Tunbridge Wells when this happened.

“It was pretty intimidating, especially because I was on my own on the platform.

“When they whistled at me I thought I’d stepped back in time 30 years. Do people still do that?”

Ms Harris said she was talking to taxi drivers to see how much a taxi ride home would be when the workmen allegedly started shouting at her as she made her way back to the platform.

She added the first thing she heard from the men was a ‘wolf whistle’.

Ms Harris said: “One shouted ‘come over this side’ and they were all staring.

“I don’t work in a public-facing role but I’ve had equalities training. Perhaps Network Rail staff could offer that to its staff so they know that this sort of behaviour is inappropriate.

“If it had been a young girl at a rural station it would’ve been very serious indeed. As it is I’m in my 30s and can hold my own, but that doesn’t make it okay.”

She tweeted Network Rail and told the company: “While I’m not, in principle, offended by a wolf whistle, bearing in mind the time of night and that I was not just the only female in the station, I was the only other passenger, the leeriness was sufficiently intimidating for me to walk to the other end of the platform.”

A Network Rail spokesman said: “We take this allegation very seriously and this sort of behaviour is utterly unacceptable.

“Tunbridge Wells station is not managed by Network Rail, however we do have staff and contractors who work in and around it and all railway stations. Therefore our team has asked for CCTV to be downloaded so we can investigate further and we are also checking our records.

“We will be in touch with the woman concerned as soon as we know more.”

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