Birmingham Chamber of Commerce president Simon Topman is being investigated by police for alleged assault following a row in the first class dining carriage of a Virgin train.
Mr Topman was ejected from his £186 seat on the 9am Birmingham to Euston train at Coventry yesterday after an argument with a member of the on-board catering staff about the state of his table.
The well-known businessman, who heads the Birmingham firm Acme Whistles, vehemently denies manhandling a Virgin employee who he accused of failing properly to clear up crumbs from the table.
Police escorted him from the train after being contacted by Virgin staff. Mr Topman, who was on his way to the Department of Trade and Industry for a meeting with Government officials when the incident occurred, admitted being a regular critic of the state of Virgin's dining facilities.
Mr Topman said: "I get Virgin trains at least once or twice a week and I am always unhappy at the fact that the first class is so scruffy.
"We are talking about a greasy, messy table and I asked very politely to have it cleaned."
A member of the catering staff tidied only one-third of the table leaving the rest dirty, according to Mr Topman.
"I said I would like a word with the train manager. He treated me with total disdain as if I had the nerve to have the whole table cleaned just because I was sitting at one of the places.
"I thought it was really offensive and unnecessary," Mr Topman added.
Matters escalated when Mr Topman said he attempted to read the steward's name badge.
"They tried to say because I pulled his badge towards me it constitutes assault. I think that's nonsense.
"It is absolutely outrageous that I can be treated in this way for complaining about a dirty table."
Mr Topman said he was told by police at Coventry that the matter would go no further.
However, both Virgin Trains and British Transport Police said last night that the incident remained subject to investigation.
Virgin spokesman David Ewart said: "I can confirm there was an incident on the 9am from Birmingham New Street to London Euston. It involved an altercation between a passenger and a member of the on-board catering staff which resulted in an alleged assault.
"As a result police were called to attend the train at Coventry. The whole incident is subject to internal and police investigation.
"The reports were that the passenger was abusive and allegedly assaulted a member of the catering staff.
"We will not tolerate abuse against Virgin staff."
A British Transport Police spokesman said the incident was being investigated and it was possible the matter would be reported to the Crown Prosecutions Service.
He added: "We are treating it as a crime of unacceptable behaviour."