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Mode Rail
Reference No. RR201300006
Date reported 05 June 2013
Concern title Passenger safety on platforms during train delays
Concern summary

The concern related to the lack of direction given to passengers when trains were delayed across the operator's network.

Industry / Operation affected Rail: Passenger - metropolitan
Concern subject type Rail: Operations

Reporter's concern

The reporter expressed a safety concern regarding the lack of procedures for ensuring passenger safety during a time when there were mass delays across the operator's network.

The reporter stated that after a mass cancellation of trains, all passengers were advised to proceed to one platform, where inbound services were still arriving. This caused mass overcrowding on the platform. No staff members were available on the platform or at the top of the escalator to advise passengers of the overcrowding and so they were still using the escalator to proceed down to the platform. As there was nowhere to go at the bottom, these passengers were then forced to try to run up the down escalator, with passengers still coming down. The passengers already on the platform were forced past the yellow safety lines marked on the platform closer to the edge.

The reporter states that while additional staff members were available at the station, there did not seem to be a procedure to ensure that they were controlling the situation. While this is an unforeseen stoppage in the rail system, it occurs on a regular basis and as such there should be a standard procedure available to staff to ensure the safety of the travelling public and staff members is not endangered at any time.

Reporter comment: 'I find this to be appalling considering the conditions other industries work under and the complete disregard for the rail industry to ensure overall safety for its passengers.'

Operator's response (Operator 1)

We have a procedure in place to cater for platform congestion and overcrowding, in which it outlines the duties of the Stationmaster, Station staff, Control Room Operators and Customer Services Officers, depending on whether the situation calls for it to be managed at a local level, managed with additional assistance and treatments, or for when there is a major operational disruption.

In all cases, the strategy is to decongest the platform and restore customer flows to an acceptable level.

We seek to continually make improvements in this field and have recently reviewed the 'Platform Congestion' component of the Emergency Management Procedure.

Notable improvements include the Stationmaster focusing entirely on the customer situation at hand and not involved in Operational activities in the event of platform congestion and for Control Room Operators to monitor CCTV for platform congestion in order to provide for a quicker and more effective response.

Regulator's response (Regulator 1)

We acknowledge the expressed safety concerns.

In regards to the expressed safety concerns, we make the following comments:

  • We can confirm that the operator has a comprehensive Safety Management System (SMS), which incorporates an Emergency Management Plan (EMP) and operational procedures aligned specifically to the safe management of platform congestion.
  • In addition to the specific operational procedures, CCTV are located on all major platforms which also assist in the management of platform congestion.
  • It is noted that the operator's implied response to the expressed safety concerns has resulted in a recent review of their 'platform congestion' components of their EMP.
  • We have previously undertaken compliance activities involving the operator in regards to platform congestion, which has also resulted in improvements to their EMP and particular management of platform congestion.
  • On analysing data recorded by the regulator, there has been no increased trend in regards to platform congestion occurrences, which are monitored on a 3 month timeframe.
  • Our rail safety operations undertake Monthly Rail Safety Meetings with the operator and will raise these expressed safety concerns at our next meeting.
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Last update 24 March 2014