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November 29 2017
The Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) has published the results of recent research into the habits of rail passengers, which suggests that too many people attempt to board trains when it is unsafe to do so.
The survey – discussed in detail in this RSSB article – revealed that seven out of 10 passengers questioned admitted they would still try to enter their train even if the door alarm was sounding. Worryingly, over half of respondents also said that they would try to board in the knowledge that the doors were just about to close.
The research was commissioned after it was announced that the year 2015/16 saw more than 1,500 dangerous incidents take place on Britain’s railway platform edges. Perhaps the most notorious such accident happened in July 2015, when a 60-year-old woman suffered several injuries after becoming trapped in a door and dragged for nearly 20 metres.
The report’s authors were nevertheless keen to emphasise that incidents like these are comparatively rare and can easily be avoided if passengers follow a few straightforward tips. Paul Leach, the RSSB’s Lead Human Factors Specialist, explained that: “Train travel is really safe, but it’s vital that passengers aren’t tempted to make a dash for the doors, no matter how rushed they are.
“The best way to avoid the risk of a nasty accident is to keep back from the edge and not try to get on or off once the door alarm starts to sound”.
The passenger opinions presented in the new RSSB research may be a cause for concern for some who work in the industry and are keen to maintain high standards of railway safety, but it is important to keep the number of train incidents in perspective. As the board’s article notes, “over 1.73 billion journeys are made by passengers every year…train travel is fundamentally safe, and far safer than travelling by road”.
Image Credit: Dan Roizer