News story

Passenger detrainment onto electrically live line, Peckham Rye

Investigation into passenger detrainment onto electrically live line, Peckham Rye, 7 November 2017.

Image from the on-train CCTV, showing Peckham Rye station platform ahead of where the train had stopped. The third rail is initially on the right and then on the left. (image courtesy of Arriva Rail London)
Image from the on-train CCTV, showing Peckham Rye station platform ahead of where the train had stopped. The third rail is initially on the right and then on the left. (image courtesy of Arriva Rail London)

At 18:46 hrs on Tuesday 7 November, an Arriva Rail London (London Overground) service from Dalston Junction to Battersea Park came to a stand, shortly before reaching Peckham Rye station. A faulty component on the train had caused the brakes to apply, and the driver was unable to release them. There were about 450 passengers on the train.

The train driver spoke over the train radio system with the service controller, train technicians, and the signaller. Following these conversations he began, with the assistance of staff from Peckham Rye station, to evacuate the passengers from the train via the door at the right-hand side of the driver’s cab at the front of the train. This involved passengers climbing down vertical steps to ground level, very close to the live electric conductor rail (3rd rail) and walking along the side of the line about 30 metres to Peckham Rye station.

Soon afterwards, an operations manager from GTR (which manages Peckham Rye station) contacted station staff and realised they were at the side of the electrically energised track assisting in the evacuation, and that about 80 passengers had already left the train by this route. The operations manager immediately instructed staff to stop the evacuation, and requested that the train driver contact the signaller and his company’s controller for further instructions.

The driver, with further advice from train technicians, then isolated various safety systems which enabled him to release the brakes and move the train forward into Peckham Rye station, arriving at about 19:40 hrs. It was then possible for all the passengers to leave the train normally, and it proceeded, empty, to the depot at New Cross Gate. No-one was hurt in the incident.

Our investigation will examine:

  • The sequence of events and the various radio conversations leading up to the incident
  • The management of the incident and reasons for the decisions that were taken
  • The training, instruction, and competence management of the staff involved
  • Any underlying management factors

Our investigation is independent of any investigation by the railway industry, or by the industry’s regulator, the Office of Rail and Road.

We will publish our findings, including any recommendations to improve safety, at the conclusion of our investigation. This report will be available on our website.

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Published 5 December 2017