by Phil Marsh

Investigation into passenger trapped in a door

Published 6 August 2013

Newcastle nightmare ride

A passenger became trapped in a set of Class 185 train doors and was dragged for a short distance at Newcastle Central station on June 5 the Rail Accident Investigation Board (RAIB) has announced.

RAIB is investigating this incident when the person was dragged less than 15 metres as the train departed from the station and was not travelling at any great speed. Because of this, the passenger managed to stay upright running alongside the train but she was obviously shaken and suffered some soft tissue damage to her wrist.

The incident happened in the rush hour on June 5 when the three carriage Class 185 train was departing from platform 10 which was running the 1702hrs Transpennine Express service from Newcastle to Manchester Airport.

Two minutes before the scheduled departure time, she approached the train from the ticket office end intending to join the service. The doors at the rear of the train were closed but the rear doors on the centre carriage were still open.

Mind the doors

As the intending passenger attempted to join the train, the doors were closing and she put her right hand between the doors presumably expecting this action to make the doors open. This did not happen and they closed trapping her right wrist. As the train moved off, the intending passenger was forced to walk, then jog alongside.

The Guard was (correctly) looking out of his window as the train moved off but the platform is curved and so could not see the passenger from his position in the rear driving cab. Other passengers on the train saw what had happened and pulled the emergency door release handle thus triggering the emergency brake. Another person on the platform shouted to the Guard to stop the train and the conductor also activated the emergency brake.

Incident Delay

For some reason this incident was not reported to the RAIB until 3 July 2013. It’s investigation will examine the sequence of events leading up to the incident, which will look at how the train was dispatched and how the door obstructions are detected.

RAIB will also consider how the risk associated with trains departing from this tightly curved platform was assessed and mitigated, and how the incident was reported and investigated by First Transpennine Express.

The RAIB will eventually publish a report with any recommendations to improve safety, at the conclusion of its investigation.

Curved platforms

Trains leaving curved platforms are for obvious reasons offer more dangers than those that are straight. Platform staff should always make sure what is known as ‘Platform duties’ are complete which means passengers are on the train and not in any danger. They should only then give the appropriate signal to the guard or driver that it is safe to observe the starting signal and depart if this shows a proceed aspect.

But if a passenger is determined to jump on a train as the doors are closing which often happens in peak hours, then the risk becomes real.

Written by Phil Marsh

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