Report 19/2011: Passenger accident at Brentwood station

Passenger accident at Brentwood station, Essex, 28 January 2011.


At 23:42 hrs on 28 January 2011, a passenger alighting from the last coach of a train at Brentwood station fell, head first, between the side of the train and the platform. Another passenger who had alighted from the same train saw her begin to fall and was able to hold on to one of her legs. The driver of the train did not see this happen and the train departed from the station with the passenger still in the gap between the train and the platform. The passenger sustained injuries to her leg and head in the accident.

At Brentwood station train drivers are required to undertake a safety check after closing the train’s doors and before moving out of the platform. To do this, the driver needs to look out of his cab window at the first six coaches of the train and look at a platform-mounted monitor to see the last two coaches of the train.

The driver of the train involved in the accident had stopped beyond the monitor and in a position where it was only just possible to see the image. He performed the safety check as the train started to move and it is therefore unlikely that he was able to see the events happening at the last coach of the train before the image in the monitor was obscured. It is also possible that his view of the last coach was obstructed by a passenger walking along the platform.

The investigation found that the passenger had tried to alight as the doors started to close and then fell as she squeezed between the leaves of the door. The investigation also identified weaknesses in the way that the train operator, National Express East Anglia, had trained, briefed and monitored its drivers who are required to dispatch trains from unstaffed platforms and in the way that it addressed the risk from driver-only operation of trains. There were also weaknesses in the way that key items of equipment (monitors and signage provided to indicate to a train driver where to stop) were configured on the platform where the accident occurred.

RAIB has made five recommendations:

  • three to National Express East Anglia relating to driver training and assessment, risk assessment reviews and the availability of CCTV equipment on trains
  • one to Network Rail relating to working with train operators to assess periodically the suitability of equipment provided at unstaffed platforms to assist train drivers to dispatch trains
  • one to the Rail Safety and Standards Board relating to the inclusion within industry guidance of a clause on observing train doors while they are closing by all staff involved in train dispatch, so far as is reasonably practicable.

Response to recommendations:

  • RAIB will periodically update the status of recommendations as reported to us by the relevant safety authority or public body
  • RAIB may add comment, particularly if we have concerns regarding these responses.

RAIB Recommendation response for Brentwood

Published 10 December 2014