London

Woman dragged by train when hand trapped at Hayes and Harlington station

First Great Western Train in a station Image copyright RAIB
Image caption The woman tried to board the Oxford to Paddington train when it called at Hayes and Harlington

A woman was dragged more than 60ft along a station platform when her hand got stuck between train doors she had expected to reopen, a report has found.

The passenger deliberately put her hand between the closing doors at Hayes and Harlington, thinking they would reopen automatically, but was pulled along and suffered head, back and hand injuries.

The driver was unaware of the problem as a signal showed the doors were shut.

An investigation found the doors were safety compliant.

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The woman had arrived on the platform just as the train to London Paddington was leaving at about 13:10 BST on 25 July 2015.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) said it had "concluded that after closing the doors of the train, the driver either did not make a final check that it was safe to depart, or that the check was insufficiently detailed to allow him to identify the trapped passenger".

The RAIB recommended further research be carried out into how passengers interact with trains, so the industry can learn how to deter people from obstructing train doors.

It also said train operators and train owners should continue looking into the practicality of fitting trains with sensitive door edge technology and has suggested drivers and railway staff are made aware, in the meantime, of the limitations of door locking systems.

A spokesman for the RAIB said: "Our investigation identified that the train driver and other railway staff held the same misunderstanding: if someone had a hand trapped in a door it would not be possible for the door interlock light to illuminate and a driver to take power.

"This is not the case, and the door was found to be compliant with all applicable standards after the accident."

It has issued the following guidance:

  • Train doors can trap hands or objects such as clothing and bag straps and door locking systems may not always detect an obstruction
  • It can be difficult to remove trapped items or body parts once the doors are closed
  • It is essential dispatchers, such as station staff, guards or train drivers, always perform a thorough final safety check to confirm it is safe for the train to depart

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