At about 16:00 hrs on Wednesday 31 January 2018, a passenger became trapped in the doors of a London Underground train as she attempted to board a westbound Central line service at Notting Hill Gate station while the doors were closing. The train departed and reached a maximum speed of 35 km/h before the emergency brakes were applied and the train stopped. The passenger was dragged for approximately 75 metres along the platform, and about 15 metres further into the tunnel. She suffered serious injuries and was taken to hospital, where she was treated for about a month. She has since been steadily recovering.
The accident occurred because the passenger’s bag became trapped in the doors as she attempted to board the train, the train’s door control system did not detect the presence of the bag trapped in the doors, and the train operator was not aware of the trapped passenger before initiating the train’s departure. It is likely that the train operator did not perceive the passenger because of a number of interacting factors associated with the nature of his task which caused him to not consciously process the available information. The view on the in-cab CCTV monitor did not adequately assist him to detect that a passenger was trapped in the doors and he relied on other cues to depart rather than making a thorough check of the in-cab CCTV monitor.
The investigation identified a probable underlying factor associated with training programmes for train operators, concerning scanning techniques for in-cab CCTV monitors and awareness of the limitations of door-traction interlocks.
The RAIB has made five recommendations and one learning point, all addressed to London Underground. The recommendations concern the detection of objects by the train’s door systems, how the design of the task, equipment and training can influence train operators’ attention and awareness, and the use of emergency stop facilities on platforms. While there is no evidence that the train operator was impaired by drugs or alcohol, the learning point concerns the importance of following procedures for drug and alcohol testing where relevant.
Notes to editors
- The sole purpose of RAIB investigations is to prevent future accidents and incidents and improve railway safety. RAIB does not establish blame, liability or carry out prosecutions.
- RAIB operates, as far as possible, in an open and transparent manner. While our investigations are completely independent of the railway industry, we do maintain close liaison with railway companies and if we discover matters that may affect the safety of the railway, we make sure that information about them is circulated to the right people as soon as possible, and certainly long before publication of our final report.
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Newsdate: 3 September 2018