September 16, 2013 | Mark Paradies

Press Release from the UK Rail Accident Investigation Branch: Rail Accident Investigation alert – RAIB Investigation – Holland Park Station on the London Underground

 Cms Resources Holland-Park-Station
Image showing inter-car barrier

The RAIB is investigating an incident involving the uncontrolled evacuation of a train at Holland Park station that took place on Sunday 25 August 2013. Holland Park station is on the Central Line, located in west London between Notting Hill Gate and Shepherd’s Bush stations. The station, and trains operating through it, were relatively busy for a weekend because the Notting Hill carnival was taking place in the locality.

At around 18:35 hrs, westbound train 003 began to depart normally from Holland Park station. Soon after the train started moving, a passenger operated the emergency alarm within the train, causing its brakes to be applied. It stopped with the first half of the first car in the tunnel. Other emergency alarms were operated within the train soon afterwards.The Train Operator was not aware that a fault with the brakes on one car in the train was generating smoke and fumes. London Underground has also indicated that the train may have simultaneously suffered an electrical fault on one of its motors, which could have created a loud noise.

As soon as the train stopped passengers tried to get out. Since the doors had not been opened, people in the train and on the platform attempted to pull the twin-leaf doors apart. However, the doors could not be opened to sufficient width to allow most people to leave the train. Some people outside the train operated the fire alarms on the platform, and this initiated an automatic station evacuation sequence. Evacuation announcements could be heard by the passengers trying to leave the train.

Approximately two minutes after the train stopped, a small number of passengers started to exit the train using the inter-car doors at the end of each carriage, and then climbing over the inter-car barriers (see picture below) to reach the platform. During this time, the Train Operator was attempting to establish what had happened, and the train doors adjacent to the platform remained closed.

About two and a half minutes after the train stopped, station staff reached the platform and opened one pair of doors from the outside. Approximately one minute later, the Train Operator opened all the doors adjacent to the platform.

Nobody was injured in the incident, but the RAIB considers that there was potential for injuries to occur because the train was heavily loaded and a large number of people were prevented from leaving the train for almost four minutes after it stopped.
The RAIB’s investigation will seek to identify the sequence of events and will consider all aspects of the management of the incident.

The RAIB’s investigation is independent of any investigation by the Office of Rail Regulation. The RAIB will publish its findings, including any recommendations to improve safety, at the conclusion of its investigation. This report will be available on the RAIB website.

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