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RAIB calls for safety review after passenger died leaning out of carriage window

Network Rail and operators have been told to improve their safety standards and data sharing after a passenger was killed last year when they stuck their head out of a train carriage.  

The incident involved a passenger on the Gatwick Express service from the airport to London Victoria, who died from injuries after striking a signal gantry as they leaned out the window of the train.

It is believed that the window the passenger leant out of was opposite a guard’s compartment and was accessible to passengers, but not for passenger use. It is unknown why the passenger put their head out the window.

In a report released today, the RAIB stated that the accident occurred as there was nothing to prevent passengers from opening the window or putting their head out of the opened window, and also because there was less than the normal standard clearance between the train and the signal gantry.

Though clearance was complaint with standards for existing structures, it was less than an industry recommended minimum for new structures where there are trains with opening passenger windows.

The report stated: “An underlying cause was that the process for assessing the compatibility of this train on this route did not identify the risk of the combination of reduced structure clearances and opening windows.”

The RAIB made a number of recommendations to avoid a similar accident in the future. One was addressed to Network Rail, as the RAIB said: “Network Rail, in collaboration with operators of trains, should introduce a process to implement the sharing of data regarding clearances between structures and trains at window height with train operators, so that operators can make more informed decisions about the management of risk associated with opening windows.”

It was also recommended to TOCs with rolling stock with droplight windows should review the risk arising from reduced clearance. This work, the RAIB added, must be informed by taking data from NR, and should consider ways of stopping people from leaning out of windows and improving signage to warn passengers against doing this.

The report also urged the industry to take on board a key learning point to regularly monitor and manage the structure gauge when clearances are reduced from normal to avoid other incidents.

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David   25/05/2017 at 20:05

Why do there need to be changes? Aside from charter trains, the remaining Mk2s are being withdrawn, and the Mk3s being retained will be refitted with power doors. The droplight windows on the Class 442s are only for guard use and should otherwise be locked shut.

Dan Birch   26/05/2017 at 09:51

Good article, but the image you have used has workers that are not wearing correct and compliant PPE

King's Lynn   26/05/2017 at 09:53

There need to be changes because Something Dreadful Happened. Don't forget that these days, the onus is on the service provider to prevent the morons from doing something daft...

John Grant   26/05/2017 at 15:30

Quite. Of course, these days there's an assumption that folks don't have to -- I was going to say "look out for themselves" but that would be unfortunate wording. Anyway, back in the day everyone knew that leaning out is dangerous but now we're all too much wrapped in cotton wool and folks forget.

David   26/05/2017 at 20:33

But the changes are already happening surely? Mk3 droplights being replaced on conversion to power doors and I should hope that the Class 442 droplights will be properly locked out when they are back in service with FSW.

Mark Hare   29/05/2017 at 11:25

There shouldn't need to be any changes. It's quite simple - if you want to stick your head/torso out of a train window then you take your chances. I've just come back from Europe where there is no palisade fencing to stop people accessing the track, the trains have large sash windows that you could lean your whole body out of and yet miraculously there aren't millions of people losing their lives daily on the network. Common sense prevails. Maybe we should apply that philosophy in the UK. Are people not responsible for their own actions any more? Or is somebody else always to blame?

Roger, Industry Insider   30/05/2017 at 07:43

Already seen the drawings for Class 442 guard's door window bars (as per old Euston - Watford 501s). Surprise!! Cheap but effective.

Redrows   30/05/2017 at 21:42

'...a passenger.... They...' If you can't say he or she, write the sentence in the passive tense.

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