Platform safety review launched after woman rolled onto railway line at Southend Central (From Echo)
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Platform safety review launched after woman rolled onto railway line at Southend Central
THE INCIDENT in which an elderly disabled woman fell onto the track at Southend Central station has sparked a national investigation the safety of station platforms.
Government agency the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has announced that it is examining the case where a 71-year-old wheelchair bound Benfleet woman fell onto the tracks and broke her hip.
Based on the incident, and a similar one involving a pushchair in Surrey, a wider examination of the angle of train platforms has also been launched – as they both slope downwards.
Hero rail worker Alan Chittock was originally suspended and then reinstated after saving the elderly woman from the line at Southend, while a police investigation concluded the woman wasn’t pushed.
The RAIB shed more light on the Southend incident in a statement.
It said: “The wheelchair was positioned mid-way along the platform, facing the railway, awaiting the arrival of the train.
“The wheelchair’s parking brake was not applied and neither the carer nor the member of staff noticed it starting to move towards the railway. It then fell off the platform with the occupant still strapped inside.
“While passengers and a member of station staff went to assist the lady, the driver of the approaching train was called to warn him of the potential obstruction, but he had already observed passengers climbing back onto the platform and clear of the railway.”
It added: “The examination of the platform revealed a gradient towards the track was present in the area where the wheelchair was originally positioned.”
The agency said that guidance on station platforms has historically been to have them sloping away from the track.
Its investigation will examine the circumstances under which both of these platforms had gradients sloping towards the track, and the how much it occurs nationally across the railway network.
It also said it will look at the extent to which the hazard is recognised by the railway industry.
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