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Collaborative strategy launched to tackle platform safety

The UK rail industry has launched a collaborative strategy aimed at improving platform safety across Britain’s network of 2,500 stations, as almost 7,000 injuries have occurred following falls from platforms, or while boarding and alighting trains, in the last five years. 

Despite having the safest railway in Europe, between 1 April 2009 and 31 March 2014 there were 6,969 reported incidents of slips, trips and falls at the point where passengers alight or board trains. Additionally, since 2010, 18 people have died due to this type of incident. 

The latest analysis identifies a number of factors which contribute to accidents between platforms and trains: intoxication; baggage; gender; age; location and seasonality. 

Unsurprisingly the busiest stations, such as Clapham Junction, St Pancras International, East Croydon, Victoria, Paddington, London Bridge (Central), Birmingham New Street and Glasgow Central, have the largest number of incidents. 

More women than men have reported these kinds of accidents, possibly linked to footwear or just being more likely to report this type of incident. Women aged over 51 and men aged over 70 are involved in a higher number of accidents than would be expected. 

The long-term strategy will look at improving safety through six key areas: data and intelligence gathering; influencing public behaviour and helping station staff; train stopping and dispatch, optimising the step gap between platform and train, and improving operational performance and capacity. 

Neal Lawson, director of operations and maintenance services at Network Rail, explained the challenges the industry faces: “The network is made up of 2,500 stations, all with different layouts, built at all different times over the past 180 years, with different types and designs of trains and different and changing passenger needs – this means there is no one magic bullet solution to improving platform safety but our challenge is to find ways to make it better for passengers. 

“Everybody has heard the phrase 'Mind the Gap'. We're minding that gap every day, looking at how we can make that gap as safe as possible for the millions that rely on a safe and punctual train service.” 

As part of the strategy, a public awareness campaign, backed by the rail industry including Network Rail and train operators, has been launched in stations across Britain. Called ‘Lend a Helping Hand’, it uses easily understood language to encourage people to be more considerate of their fellow passengers. 


Colin Dennis, technical director at RSSB, said: “Rail is a safe way to travel, especially compared to other means land transport. By collaborating through RSSB, the rail industry has, for the first time, come together to agree strategy for the development and management of the platform train interface to optimise safety and operational performance in the short and long terms. We look forward to working with the industry to take the strategy into implementation.” 

The Platform Train Interface Strategy is available here

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Al   10/02/2015 at 10:34


Al   10/02/2015 at 10:38


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