Latest Rail News

07.06.16

Rise in LU passenger falls linked to S-Stock and staffing cuts

Passenger falls between the platform and train on the London Underground are increasing, which unions are blaming on staffing cuts, increasing passenger numbers and the new S-Stock trains.

An FoI request by the Evening Standard found that incidents have been steadily increasing for the past five years. There were 119 in 2010; 123 in 2011; 154 in 2012; 224 in 2013; 300 in 2014; and 307 in 2015, a 63% in five years.

Finn Brennan, Aslef district organiser, said: “These figures demonstrate the pressure that train drivers and other staff are operating under as levels of overcrowding increase. It is only their professionalism that has meant many more people have not been seriously injured or killed when these incidents happen.”

He said that the figures were also due to the new S-Stock trains, which are designed to be level with the platform in order to improve wheelchair access.

However, this causes a wider gap between platform and train at stations with curved platforms, such as the Metropolitan lines at Baker Street. This had the biggest number of falls, with 166 since 2003. Blue lights have now been introduced at the station to alert passengers to the gap.

The stations with the next greatest number of falls were Embankment, with 108, and Finchley, with 101.

Despite the criticisms, the S-Stock has been voted one of the top 10 transport design icons in London.

Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT, which is calling for an investigation into an incident when a passenger fell between the train and platform last week, said that increased staffing cuts were “unleashing a poisonous cocktail across the tube network that threatens life and limb”.

Steve White, London Underground’s operations director, said: “While the Tube is rightly recognised as one of the safest metros in the world, we are not complacent and are working hard to further minimise accidents and injuries.”

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Comments

Lutz   07/06/2016 at 13:37

More tosh from the RMT; at what point does a train driver or a member of ticket office staff contribute to safety while passengers are boarding or disembarking?

Robertbssl   08/06/2016 at 09:53

If the trains always stop at the same place, why cant short fences be put along at the platform edge to direct passengers to the correct entry door. This will focus them in concentrating what they are doing and not be distracted by all sorts of hand held technology. What happened to "MIND THE GAP" announcement?

Robertbssl   08/06/2016 at 09:54

If the trains always stop at the same place, why cant short fences be put along at the platform edge to direct passengers to the correct entry door. This will focus them in concentrating what they are doing and not be distracted by all sorts of hand held technology. What happened to "MIND THE GAP" announcement?

Henry Law   09/06/2016 at 07:40

The trains should have an extending step to close the gap. This is a feature of many continental trains. This would reduce station dwell time as passengers would board and alight faster since they would not need to step carefully to see where they were treading. It would more than compensate for the deployment time. Following a fall at Westminster in 2009 I wrote to LUL about this and got a fob-off response (as one would). I suspect there are many more incidents than get reported. It was difficult to find anyone to report the incident to.

Henry Law   10/06/2016 at 05:19

This will be a problem primarily with the centre doors at concave platform faces. There may be a way of programming the train management system to de-activate the centre doors at these locations. It is not an ideal solution but probably the cheapest way of fixing the problem. The next generation of trains should be specified so as to deal with it properly. Extending steps are one option. A Talgo solution with short vehicles is another, like the Copenhagen Metro.

Bob B-W   22/06/2016 at 00:24

The South Ferry station on the New York Subway is on a severe curb and a moveable link between the platform and the train is provided. It extends after the train has come to a stop and signs on the platform warn passengers to stay clear of that particular area by the doors. It seems to work rather well and does not require expensive platform gates such as on the Jubilee Line in London or the Copenhagen Metro.

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