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Dangers of sloping train station platforms identified

Posted in: Hip Injuries Public Place Accidents Public Transport 

It has recently been identified by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) that the platforms of many train stations slope towards the tracks. A spokesperson from the branch said that the rail industry has not identified this as a problem, despite it having caused numerous accidents. With reports ranging from a child in a pushchair to a wheelchair user rolling onto the tracks, the majority of the reports laid the blame on the passengers involved.

In September 2013 a baby in a pushchair had been left parallel to the track on a platform in a Surrey train station. The pushchair rolled towards the tracks, narrowly missing the live conductor rail.  Numerous passengers and the mother jumped onto the track to rescue the child, who luckily only suffered minor injuries. A similar thing happened to a 71-year-old woman in Southend, Essex. Her wheelchair had been halfway along the platform when it began to roll down towards the tracks. She fell onto the tracks and suffered a broken hip.

“Focusing on how we can tackle the issue”

The report by the RAIB stated: “The industry had not recognised the part that sloping platforms had played in the incidents.”  They encouraged Network Rail and the Association of Train Operating Companies to carry out work on stations where this is a problem.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “We are focusing on how we can tackle the issue of platform slopes and provide better warnings to passengers.” It is believed that some platforms had originally been built on a slope to help water drain away.

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