A postcard of the steam training going along Mt Snowdon in North Wales. Picture: Kyle Taylor, flickr.com


London - An elderly tourist was told he could not take a steam train mountain trip because there were too many fat people on board.

Anthony Poppel, 70, had booked and paid £32.50 (about R550) for the 90-minute ride up Mt Snowdon in North Wales – but was turned away as an obese family of four had taken up all the space available on his Victorian carriage.

After complaining to Snowdon Mountain Railway, the firm apologised in writing, saying that it was not the first time it had happened. It said: “The issue of obesity in our country is leading to more incidents of this type every year”.

Retired engineer Mr Poppel had travelled nearly 300 miles from his home in Martlesham, Suffolk, for a five-day break in North Wales last month.

But when the pensioner arrived for the four-and-a-half mile return journey between Llanberis at the foot of the 3 560ft mountain to the summit of the highest peak in Wales, he could not find a seat.

He said the guard told him there was not enough space as those on board were refusing to budge up. He then had to claim his money back and, to add insult to injury, was forced to pay £70 for a taxi to take him back to his hotel.

The written apology blamed the “large stature” of a family of four. Mr Poppel said: “It ruined my holiday. I had travelled a long way to see it and thought it was poor show.”

A spokesperson for the famous railway said: “On the day of Mr Poppel’s visit a family of four occupied the full width of his carriage due to their physical size and weight, taking the space normally reserved for five people. We requested that they sit opposite one another but they refused. We apologise for any disappointment he experienced.”