Safety Recommendations Following Platform Slope Incidents

RAIB Releases Report Considering Two Separate Cases

18.08.2014

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has made four safety recommendations following two separate incidents in which a wheelchair and pushchair rolled onto tracks at train stations.

The report related to an incident in August last year when a wheelchair user’s chair rolled towards the edge of the platform and onto the track at Southend Central station. While the passenger and the wheelchair was recovered prior to the arrival of a train, the passenger was seriously injured.

It also examined a case in September 2013, when a pushchair containing a baby rolled onto the track while the mother was purchasing a ticket at Whyteleafe. The youngster suffered minor injuries in the incident.

The report revealed that both platforms sloped towards the railway, with no specific requirements in place to prevent this upon construction.

Among the recommendations made following these incidents are calls for Network Rail and train operators to improve their processes in managing the potential risks of pushchairs and wheelchairs rolling off platforms.

Katrina Elsey, a legal expert at Irwin Mitchell who specialises in acting for victims of accidents in public places, said: "These two incidents have raised very serious concerns and in both cases circumstances could have been much worse, so it is welcome to see steps being taken to ensure that such problems are not repeated in the future.

“It is vital that all of those travelling on railway services take precautions to prevent pushchairs and wheelchairs from rolling onto tracks, but it is also vital that train operators do what they can to help the public understand potential risks and provide warnings where necessary.

“Lessons need to be learned from issues like this if safety is going to be improved in the future.”