Recommendations made after report reveals details of ‘life-changing injuries’ suffered at West Wickham station last year

PUBLISHED: 12:03 01 March 2016 | UPDATED: 12:03 01 March 2016

Southeastern train

Southeastern train


The Rail Accident Investigation Branch has reported on an incident from April 10, 2015

A report investigating an incident at West Wickham station last year that left a passenger with ‘life-changing injuries’ after being dragged along the platform, has recommended new safety procedures.

The report, published by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB), revealed the passenger’s backpack strap was trapped in the doors of the 11.00 Southeastern service from London Cannon Street to Hayes on April 10, 2015.

As the train, operated by a trainee driver under the supervision of an instructor, moved off, she fell onto the platform and then through the gap between the platform and train, however, neither driver saw what happened.

After all train doors were closed, drivers are required to check that it was safe to depart by viewing CCTV monitors located on the platform.

Two of these monitor images showed that a passenger appeared to be trapped but, although visible from the driving cab, neither the trainee driver nor the instructor was aware of this.

The report states: “Although the RAIB has not been able to establish why the trapped passenger was not seen before the train departed, a number of possible explanations have been identified.

“As a result of this accident, RAIB has made two recommendations.

“The first, addressed to operators and owners of trains with power operated doors, is intended to identify and correct all train door control systems exhibiting the unsafe characteristics found during this investigation.

“The second, addressed to the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB), seeks changes to guidance documents so that, where practicable, staff dispatching trains watch the train doors while they are closing, in addition to checking the doors after they are closed.”

The branch also insists lessons can be learned in releasing train doors long enough for passengers to get on and off safely, effective checking of doors before trains depart, design of door controls and use of train driving simulators to raise drivers’ awareness of unsafe circumstances.

A Southeastern spokesman said: “This was a terrible incident that has had a life changing affect on this young woman and our thoughts are very much with her.

“We have offered to help as much as possible since the accident and we have worked very closely with the Rail Accident Investigation Branch to assist them in their investigation.

“We have also complied with all the recommendations and learning points they have made.”

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