Train staff fail to check if items are stuck in doors and put passengers at risk, investigators say

Train and tube staff are putting passengers at risk by failing to check if items are stuck in doors, accident investigators have warned.

Rail workers are too reliant on technology to see if clothing and bags are trapped in automatic doors before trains leave the platform, according to the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) report on accidents last year.

Investigators highlighted an incident in 2018 in which a 78-year-old woman was dragged into a tunnel at Notting Hill Gate station after her bag became trapped in the train door.

The pensioner was pulled some 246ft along the track, leaving her with multiple bone fractures and an injured right leg.

In the wake of the accident, the RAIB has said that London Underground should review emergency stop facilities on platforms.

The Government agency has also called for improved door systems to detect small objects , as well as enhanced training for train operators.

Investigators said: “A recurrent theme in so many of our investigations is the mistaken assumption that door control systems will always detect the presence of an object.

“It is therefore disappointing that we continue to encounter train dispatchers [who can be drivers, guards or station staff] who believed that door safety systems would always prevent the train from moving if an object became trapped in the closed doors. ”

“Worryingly, this misconception is sometimes shared by more senior members of staff.” 

Since it was set up in 2005, the RAIB has investigated 16 incidents in which systems have not detected objects trapped in the closed and locked doors of a departing train or tram.