Latest Rail News

01.05.15

Never mind the gap – new platform safety device proves successful

The days of ‘minding the gap’ may be over as a new safety device has proved successful in trials and is being rolled out at all stations in the Heathrow Express network.

The aptly named gap-fillers are rubber devices fixed to the sides of platforms to line up with the doors, reducing the gap between the train and the platform edge.

Heathrow Express ran a year-long trial of the devices on platform four at Terminal 5 station and found there were no stepboard incidents wherever gap-fillers were in use. The devices are now set to be installed at all Heathrow Express train stations by the end of May at a cost of £58,000.

Stepboard accidents are responsible for 48% of the overall fatality risk to passengers, and cause knock-on delays to train services while the passenger’s welfare is being looked after.

The platform gap-fillers, designed by Australian company Delkor Rail, also enhance access for disabled passengers, and improve efficiency of passenger boarding, reducing the number of delays.

Heathrow Express is now working with the Rail Safety & Standards Board (RSSB) and other TOCs in developing industry-wide National Platform Train Interface (PTI) and Platform Gap-Filler strategies.

Joanne Lewis, head of safety for Heathrow Express, said: “Our top priority is ensuring Heathrow Express, and the rail industry as a whole, is as safe as possible for customers and employees.

“Stepboard accidents are a concern across the rail industry, and for good reason; they can be fatal. With demand for rail travel predicted to double over the next 30 years in the UK, devices like gap-fillers could be a big help.”

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