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Scotrail No Ticket Video - Man Gets Thrown off Train

Updated on January 18, 2014

They say everybody gets their 15 minutes of fame, but what happened on a late night train in Scotland, where a man with no ticket gets thrown off a Scotrail train by a burly passenger, has created ininternet sensation.

A passenger on the train, Ian Hems, took out his mobile phone and videoed events after the train had been stationary at a platform for about 10 minutes, while the elderly ticket inspector tried to eject a passenger who had an invalid ticket.

The young man refuses to leave the train.

It is late evening.

People are tired and cold and want to get home, but the inspector is adamant that the train isn't moving until the young man gets off.

What follows is 2.34 minutes of events which are central to the story, so please watch it.

Scotrail - no ticket (with subtitles)

Sam Main, 19, with facial grazing caused by  making contact with the concrete on the platform when he was thrown off the train.
Sam Main, 19, with facial grazing caused by making contact with the concrete on the platform when he was thrown off the train. | Source

If you watch the video, you will see that the young man, who turned out to be 19 year old Edinburgh Heriot-Watt University student Sam Main, did not in fact have a valid ticket.

As the inspector said, his ticket was a single for Polmont to Edinburgh Park. This was the return journey train, Edinburgh Park to Polmont.

It was midnight. Sam Main had been drinking, and while is manner seemed non-threatening, his language was atrocious, swearing at the inspector.

You will have noticed in the video there were young children on board the carriage, and it is never acceptable to swear in front of other people's children.

The 'Big Man' stepped up, offered to throw the man physically off the train, to which the inspector acquiesced, held Sam Main firmly and marched him off the train.

On the way down the aisle, although the camera doesn't fully catch events, Sam Main fell, grabbing a woman passenger's jacket on the way down, and The Big Man half fell too, but apologised to passengers.

Once on the platform, Sam Main tried to get back on the train, but he can be clearly heard saying he had left stuff on-board, but his bag had already been tossed off by another passenger. This is also caught on camera.

The Big Man, 35 year old Alan Pollock
The Big Man, 35 year old Alan Pollock | Source

The Big Man Named

This video was picked up by the Press, and the question was asked "Who is the Big Man?"

He was hailed a hero by the train passengers who were relieved to finally see the train get moving so they could get home,

To most of those watching the video, the Big Man was indeed a hero. He pulled no punches, and did not swear, but just used his brute strength to evict the non-paying passenger and manhandle him off the train.

Don't forget Sam Main has repeatedly refused to get off the train when requested to do so by the ticket inspector.

The Big Man turned out to be 35 year old Alan Pollock, a married father of 3 who worked as an investment banker in the city of Edinburgh.

The next day again, Sam Main's father is quoted in the Press saying he is proud of his son, that he hadn't done anything wrong - only that Scotrail employees had made a mistake when he had bought his ticket earlier that day. He also went on to say that his son was diabetic, and that his medication and money was in his bag.

If he had money in his bag, why not pay the fare? And being diabetic obviously didn't stop him drinking alcohol!

Yet others pointed out that if this was their son, they would have been ashamed of his behaviour, swearing at an elderly ticket inspector and refusing to get off the train when requested.

The following day again, Alan Pollock's father was quoted in the Press saying he was proud of his son, who he had brought up to know right from wrong.

A huge internet row has broken out.

We have Facebook pages demanding medals for Alan Pollock, and others demanding he is charged with assault.

A Scotrail Train
A Scotrail Train | Source

The sad fact is that all three men featured in this video - the fair dodger, the ticket inspector and the Big Man could all find themselves in deep trouble.

  • The fare dodger, obviously, for travelling on a train without a valid ticket, and perhaps for "Breach of the Peace" which is a public disorder offence which covers a multitude of things, and will almost certainly includes swearing in public. It could also be said that he has brought his university into disrepute.
  • The ticket inspector for not following procedure, which was to allow the young man to remain where he was, and phone ahead for the Transport Police to meet the train at the next station, and let them deal with the situation.
  • The Big Man for forcibly removing the fare dodger. Technically, this is assault because he touched him. There are stories being bandied about in the newspapers that the police have charged him with Assault, but this has not been confirmed at this point in time.

We sincerely hope that this matter is now dropped.

None of us would even have heard about this incident had it not been for 27 year old IT instructor Ian Hems, who uploaded the video footage to YouTube.

Sam Main could go back to his studies, perhaps a little bit wiser as a result of this event.

The ticket inspector could carry on inspecting tickets as a Scotrail employee, which he may not be for much longer if his bosses decided he handled the situation badly.

Alan Pollock, who is a naturally private man, would not have his privacy invaded and be discussed all over internet forums as alternately a hero or a bully, and now be possibly facing charges which could cost him his livelihood.



The latest episode in this story is;

The Big Man has been formally invited to Join the US Guardian Angels

The ticket inspector has gone on 'annual leave' a..k.a. suspended pending a Scotrail enquiry.

Read more here - The Daily Record

Updated 9th February, 2012 (2 months after incident)

The Procurator Fiscal has decided all charges against Alan Pollock, (the Big Man in what has been dubbed Big Man Gate), are dropped, as a prosecution would not be in the interests of the public.

The train ticket collector, 63 year old Alan Mitchell, has returned to work after a six week leave on sick pay. He faces no disciplinary actions.

The man who caused it all, 19 year old Sam Main, faces no charges.

The case is now closed.

Vote in our Poll!

Do you think what Alan Pollock did makes him a:

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    • IzzyM profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from UK

      With you completely, Pegasus. I wouldn't even give Mr Pollock an admonishment; he should be handed a warning, which means nothing in legal terms anyway, and let that be the end of it. I agree the student should be in trouble, an apology for his behaviour from either him or his Dad would have appreciated, and yes the Guard should be let alone to get on with his job. Why is there no CCTV in trains to protect him anyway? I see Mr Pollock has now been charged and it is up to Procurator Fiscal what happens to him now. What a worry over Christmas!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Mr Pollock's action although commendable was probably in strict legal terms - illegal. So much for our laws! He should not be punished, but receive only an admonishment, together with a sympathetic briefing on the inadequacy and inequality of some of our laws. The student should be heavily fined. The Scot Rail employee - although technically in default of his code of conduct, should receive a gentle admonishment, and perhaps some further instruction in his duties. He should not lose his job.

    • IzzyM profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from UK

      And that is where the argument comes in, because a lot of people either agree or disagree.

    • hawkdad73 profile image


      7 years ago from Riverside, Iowa

      Well the kid's a jerk, then. Shouldn't the ticket guy have followed procedure and let the proper authorities take care of it.

      If I were on that train though, I probably would've helped throw him off.

    • IzzyM profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from UK

      The trouble is, all the major online news sites in the UK have their comments sections filled with people arguing about this incident. The guy may have been served the wrong ticket as he bought it, as he insists. Why then did he brag on Facebook the next day, that he didn't have a ticket and was just chancing his arm? Then again, I went to his Facebook page and there was nothing like that there. Maybe it was removed since everyone was talking about it. The ticket collector has also been widely discussed and the correct procedure as advised by his Scotrail bosses. Having said that, it was midnight, and I bet the train would have had a long wait at the next station for the Transport Police to arrive, as they were probably off-duty at that time. This would have been the last train of the night too.

    • hawkdad73 profile image


      7 years ago from Riverside, Iowa

      I don't know if the guy's exactly a hero. He got people home sooner, but medals? A pat on the back maybe; he would probably appreciate help with the legal fees, since he did assault the kids.

      What if the train line did make a mistake? I like how you pointed out that the ticket agent was not following procedure. That could end up hurting him and the "hero".

      Engaging hub. I enjoyed it.

    • IzzyM profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from UK

      What a great idea! I never thought of to fix it now :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Mr. Pollock is obviously helping a tough but elderly ticket agent.

      Bully? Not in the least.

      Hero. No, he didn't save anyone's life.

      A man who was taught right from wrong and stepped in to help? Most definitely.

      Maybe you could add a poll or two to help decide, IzzyM.

      Great hub!


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