Report 22/2014: Passenger dragged by a train at Holborn station

Passenger dragged a short distance by a train at Holborn station, Central London, 3 February 2014.


At about 19:00 hrs on 3 February 2014, at Holborn station in central London, a passenger was dragged about ten metres along the platform by a departing Piccadilly line train, after her scarf became caught between the closing doors of one of the carriages.

The train had stopped normally in the platform and passengers had alighted and boarded. A member of staff on the platform signalled to the train operator, by raising a baton, to begin the process of closing the train’s doors. As the train operator started to close the doors, a passenger arrived on the platform and moved towards the train, stopping as she realised that the doors were closing. As she stopped, the end of the scarf that she was wearing round her neck continued to swing towards the train and became trapped in the closing doors.

The train operator was unaware that the scarf was trapped. He started to move the train, and the passenger was dragged along the platform. The member of staff on the platform tried to help the passenger by catching hold of her, and she fell to the ground. This resulted in the scarf being forcibly removed from the passenger’s neck and carried into the tunnel by the train. The passenger suffered injuries to her neck and back, but the actions of the member of staff may have saved her from being more badly hurt.

The investigation found that the force required to remove the trapped scarf is likely to have been less than the maximum specified in the relevant London Underground standard, but it may have been difficult for a person taken by surprise and being dragged along the platform to exert such a force.

RAIB has made one recommendation to London Underground, covering possible improvements to the means available to staff to stop trains from departing if an emergency occurs during the train despatch process.

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 Holborn station

Published 10 December 2014