Leeds & West Yorkshire

Leeds tipplers topple at city railway station

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Media captionMore than 170 people slipped or fell on Leeds station between April 2012 and March 2013, often while drunk.

Leeds's bustling nightlife scene has been blamed for the high number of people being hurt in slips, trips and falls at the city's railway station.

In the past year 179 people have been injured at Leeds, and Network Rail said most incidents occurred when people lost their balance after a night out drinking.

Revellers have fallen off platforms, down stairs and escalators and slipped on the station concourse.

Injuries suffered included fractures, cuts and bruises.

'It's stupid'

Commuters using the station told the BBC they thought students, football fans and those on stag and hen parties were the main offenders.

Ahmed Abdalla, 20, said: "It's the city centre, people are drunk everywhere. From the afternoon they start, early drinking, partying all the time.

"They should be more careful, it's stupid. They're putting themselves and people around them at risk. It's mostly young college boys, uni boys, and girls sometimes."

Bennett Driver said: "There's so many students, young people coming out and they can't handle their alcohol.

"There's pubs here in the train station too."

Simon Walker, a school supervisor from Leeds, said: "It's the only portal into the city, nobody comes to Leeds by bus really.

"Lots of people come here for stag and hen nights and they seem to start very early.

Image caption Ifor Russell fell down an escalator at the station five years ago

"I have seen it after the football too. I guess Leeds attracts a lot of support from around the county."

Ifor Russell, 79, from Pudsey, fell down an escalator at the station five years ago when someone pushed the emergency stop button.

He said he was nervous using the station again, especially as it was so busy.

He said: "It's all one mad rush."

Stairs death

Mr Russell said it was "beyond believable" that people got so drunk they could injure themselves.

"It's disgusting, especially in a train or bus station. They should be removed."

Network Rail has launched a safety campaign to encourage people to be careful in its stations after having a few drinks.

The campaign includes posters at the company's 17 stations and a video on YouTube and on screens at stations.

Network Rail said it did not know exactly why Leeds had the most incidents, though it pointed out the station was one of the busiest in the UK outside of London, with trains running late into the night.

Getting to some platforms at the far end of the station requires the use of two flights of stairs or escalators.

Phil Verster, the company's route managing director, said: "With more than 100,000 people coming through the doors each weekday concourses and escalators are often busy.

"We want people to come to Leeds and enjoy themselves but all too often the station team is called to an accident where it appears alcohol has been a factor."

PC Penny Halliwell, a British transport Police officer based in Leeds, said the worst incident she had seen was a man who ended up on a live railway track.

Image caption Leeds Station is one of the busiest in the UK outside of London

She said: "He was in drink, he was wobbling along the platform and fell off the edge.

"We have people trying to go the wrong way up the escalators, trying to take the stairs when perhaps their legs don't really want to carry them and so people do put themselves at risk.

"Our job is just pointing out that risk to them, perhaps diverting them into a taxi if they are too drunk to travel."

One man died after falling down stairs at the station in March. An inquest into his death, which will determine the circumstances of the incident, has yet to be held.

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