No fainting in the rush hour, says rail firm

Lisbon, Portugal - A Portuguese commuter rail operator launched a campaign on Monday urging its passengers to eat breakfast to try to reduce train delays caused by passengers fainting during the morning rush hour.

Fertagus, which operates trains linking Lisbon to Setubal roughly 50 kilometres to the south, put up posters at its stations that read: "Travelling without eating breakfast can affect everyone's trip!"

Forty-six passengers fainted on the company's trains during the first half of the year, causing delays to 51 trains totalling 209 minutes, Fertagus marketing manager Raquel Santos told news radio TSF.

"We realised that many of these cases are due to episodes of low blood sugar in people who have not eaten for several hours. Normally during the morning rush hour," she said.

"Many times it is not possible to immediately remove the passenger from the train and this causes delays. Often the alarm is pulled and this causes circulation on the whole network to be delayed."

In addition to eating breakfast, Fertagus recommends passengers carry a bottle of water and advises that, if they start to feel ill, they should get off at the next stop and seek help instead of remaining on the train.

The company, which transports around 70,000 passengers a day, plans to give out apples and yogurts to passengers at its stations next week as part of its campaign to promote breakfast eating.