South Western Railway to ban e-scooters from its trains and stations

An e-scooter rider is stopped by a police officer in Islington (PA Archive)
An e-scooter rider is stopped by a police officer in Islington (PA Archive)

Major rail companies have banned e-scooters from being brought on their trains from next month.

The ban follows “increasing” reports of e-scooters catching fire on National Rail services.

South Western Railway (SWR) is the latest train operator to ban e-scooters from their trains, joining a host of other companies including CrossCountry to make the move.

Southeastern and Thameslink are also banning them from June 1.

A SWR spokesman said: “Reports of incidents involving e-scooters catching fire on National Rail services or infrastructure are increasing.

“In response to these incidents, from June 1, 2023 customers in possession of e-scooters will not be permitted to enter our stations or travel on our services.

“E-scooters pose a fire risk due to the potential of their lithium-ion batteries overheating.

“While the chances of a fire are small, the consequences are very serious.”

E-unicycles, e-skateboards and hoverboards are also banned in the changes, but e-bikes are permitted.

Jane Lupson, SWR’s head of safety, said: “After some consideration, and in line with other partners in the rail industry, we will be banning e-scooters on our trains and at our stations from Thursday 1 June.

“We understand that these devices are popular, but the safety of our customers and staff is our number one priority, so until greater regulation and testing can be brought in to ensure the safety of those travelling on trains, e-scooters will remain banned.”

It came after it was revealed firefighters have been called to more than 130 fires involving the type of batteries used in e-bikes and e-scooters in London in little over a year.

Figures obtained by the Standard from the London Fire Brigade (LFB) show it was called to 104 fires involving lithium batteries last year – 44 from e-bikes, 28 from e-scooters and 32 other incidents, including mobile phones, laptops and cases where the e-scooter or e-bike was not identified.

This was four times as many as the 26 recorded in 2020.

There have been a further 29 lithium battery fires this year, including 17 e-bikes.

Dramatic footage of an e-scooter explosion in a kitchen has been released to highlight the risks around charging batteries.

LFB published the video showing the moment an e-scooter catches fire while plugged in at a house in Brent, north-west London on Saturday.