December 23, 2012 | Mark Paradies

UK Rail Accident Investigation Branch Press Release: Serious Accident at Charing Cross (Main Line) Station, London, 24 November 2012

The RAIB is investigating an accident in which a member of the public fell between a train and the edge of platform 3 at Charing Cross (main line) station in London and suffered life changing injuries.

The train involved was the 22:26 hrs service from Charing Cross to Dartford operated by South Eastern. CCTV evidence shows a person approaching the side of the train after the doors had been closed by the driver in readiness for departure. When close to the train, the person fell, and rolled into the gap between the train and the platform. Almost immediately the train started to move, and travelled about 39 metres before being brought to a stand after activation of a passenger alarm inside the train.

Since there was no guard on the train involved in the accident, its dispatch was controlled by a member of staff located on the platform. The RAIB’s preliminary examination has found that this member of staff carried out their dispatch duties correctly, and acted promptly to try and stop the train.

The RAIB’s investigation will identify the sequence of events that led to the accident. It will also examine:

the design of the train dispatch equipment;
previous similar accidents and near-misses, particularly those that have occurred after trains have been authorised to depart;
lessons learnt from previous RAIB investigations relating to train dispatching by platform staff (Kings Cross; report 09/2012) and the dimensions of platform edge gap (James Street; report 22/2012).
A particular focus of the investigation will be an assessment of the measures that the railway industry has in place to enable staff to respond to an event that occurs late in the process of dispatching a train, and the scope for improvement.

The RAIB’s investigation is independent of any investigation by the safety authority (the Office of Railway Regulation).

The RAIB will publish a report, 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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