Report highlights safety concerns after accident

AN accident in which a man was dragged under a train at Huntingdon railway station has highlighted the need for improved safety – both at stations and with driver training. The man, in his 40s, was pulled into the gap between the platform and the train af

AN accident in which a man was dragged under a train at Huntingdon railway station has highlighted the need for improved safety - both at stations and with driver training.

The man, in his 40s, was pulled into the gap between the platform and the train after his coat was caught in a train door.

As reported by The Hunts Post after the accident on February 15 last year, the man, who would later give his name only as David, survived by what railway staff called "a miracle".

A report into the accident by the Department for Transport's Rail Accident Investigation Branch, which was published on Monday, said driving training needed to be improved.


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It found the train driver could not see the man.

His view along the platform was obscured by another passenger, while his view of the station's monitors was affected by where the train had been brought to a halt.

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The report also found the design of the monitors meant the quality of the image was reduced when seen from a particular angle.

"The driver became fleetingly aware a person was close to the side of the train but misinterpreted the situation and continued to drive away," said the report.

It also noted the train doors had provided enough force to trap the man's coat and prevent it being removed easily. He had tried to pull out his coat as the train moved away, but was unable free himself.

He had boarded the 3.59pm service from Huntingdon to London King's Cross, and had got off the train as the door alarm sounded and stood outside the door.

However, after the doors closed he realised his coat had become trapped. He tried vainly to draw attention by hammering on the door, and a woman on the train tried to find the emergency cord.

The man ran along the platform before being dragged and pulled down into the gap between the train and the platform edge and under the wheels of the train.

The design of the door meant the "doors locked" signal could be transmitted to the driver, despite the trapped fabric.

The report also highlighted problems with the emergency procedures on board the train. It said the passenger on the train - the friend the man was seeing off - could not find the emergency stop panel and had to run to the front of the train to find a ticket inspector.

The inspector, in turn, went into the driver's cab and asked him to stop the train.

"The passenger was not aware of the emergency communication system on the train. She had to run towards the leading end to find and alert a member of staff. The train was brought to a halt after the ticket inspector went into the driver's cab and asked him to stop."

The train was stopped just south of the station. At first, the paramedics who took the man to hospital thought he had lost his arm. The man, a guitarist, then aged 41, had three operations at Addenbrooke's Hospital, in Cambridge, to save the limb.

At the time of the accident, the train service was operated by West Anglia Great Northern (WAGN), but was taken over last year by First Capital Connect.

The report recommended:

* Driver training: This should be reviewed so that drivers understand how to align the train so they get the best views of the safety monitors. Drivers should be trained in the best action to take when a passenger is seen standing close to the train just before it leaves.

* Design of CCTV monitors: The monitors should provide improved image contrast when viewed from any angle.

* Positioning of CCTV monitors: Where they are placed should allow for variations of the driver's line of vision - and for passengers obscuring each other.

* Door design: This should be reviewed to prevent the doors closing so tightly.

* Signs and controls for emergency exits: Should be reviewed to ensure the "best passenger reaction" in an emergency.

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