Union says Underground RAIB report is 'damning'
A fatal accident on a curved tube platform has been described by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch as highlighting inadequate risk assessment on the part of London Underground. At about 10.10 on 26 May last year, a passenger on the northbound Bakerloo Line platform at Waterloo fell into the gap between the sharply curved platform and the train from which he had just alighted. The passenger was unable to free himself and the train departed when he was still trapped, crushing him as it moved off. He remained motionless and was then hit by the following train. The RAIB said the accident occurred when there were no staff or passengers nearby who might have been able to help.
Train despatch on the Bakerloo Line platforms at Waterloo was undertaken by the train operator using CCTV to view the side of the train. With only his head and arm above platform level, the passenger was difficult to detect on the despatch monitors, while the operator of the following train was unaware of the passenger because attention was focused on bringing the train to a stand at the right place. The investigation found that London Underground’s risk assessment processes did not enable the identification and detailed assessment of all the factors. Although London Underground had introduced some mitigation measures it had not fully quantified the risk of curved platforms. The investigation also found that the model used to quantify system risk makes no allowance for non-fatal injuries, and so understates the risk of harm to passengers. The RAIB has made three recommendations.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: 'This is a damning report that once again illustrates the importance of maintaining staffing levels on the basis of proper safety and risk assessments that must involve front line staff through their trade union. RMT safety reps will be raising this report with LU in our safety forums and demanding a clear programme of action to deal with the issues it addresses.'
LNER reports post-pandemic recovery is continuing
LNER said it had received 'bumper' bookings for travel over August bank holiday weekend, and that the number of passengers travelling for leisure is now greater than the levels recorded before the pandemic. Business travel is also continuing to grow, nearing 50 per cent of pre-pandemic levels and still rising. Bank holiday bookings saw 370,000 reservations made. The operator's Seat Sale in August saw 200,000 tickets sold. LNER managing director David Horne said: 'There has been a great deal of pent up demand as people want to make trips to see friends or loved ones or to enjoy a break or day trip. Since April this year, more than five million journeys have been enjoyed with LNER and we are delighted to be welcoming more and more customers back. Our Seat Sale proved extremely successful and is just one of the ways we’ve responded to demand. We’ve made tickets available as far ahead as Christmas and the New Year.' The news comes as LNER is set to face new competition on the London-Edinburgh route, when FirstGroup launches its Lumo open access services next month.
More trains ordered for Tyne & Wear Metro
Tyne & Wear Metro operator Nexus has ordered four more trains from the fleet's builder Stadler, and a total of 46 trains will now be delivered. Manufacturing is under way, and the first new train is due to arrive next year, entering passenger service in mid-2023. Nexus has ordered the extra trains after a grant of £95 million was secured from the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund for the Metro Flow programme. The investment will allow Nexus to increase frequencies, reduce journey times and improve reliability by doubling three sections of line between Pelaw and South Shields. The Metro Flow project is set to start in September 2022.
'Spiders' help to make landslips less likely on West Coast Main Line
A £5 million project to protect the West Coast Main Line from landslips has been completed by Network Rail between Wolverhampton and Stafford, where thousands of tonnes of earth has been moved to secure 1.3km of the railway south of Penkridge. Long stretches of slopes along the side of the line have been reprofiled with new stone to make them more stable, and the gradients of slopes have been reduced. More than 11,000 tonnes of earth was removed during the project and 19,000 tonnes of new stone was laid. Because of the steep locations, specialist 'spider' excavators were used to carry out the work.
Digital upgrade to boost reliability of TransPennine Express fleet
The 51 Class 185 units used by TransPennine Express are to receive a digital upgrade said their builder Siemens, which has announced a partnership with TransPennine Express and the fleet's owner Eversholt Rail. The trains will be fitted with cloud-based applications which will include real-time data to assist with maintenance and planning. Eversholt Rail's client services director Paul Sutherland said: 'We are delighted to be working in partnership with TransPennine Express and Siemens Mobility on this digital upgrade project. In recent years we have all witnessed our personal devices becoming increasingly connected to the cloud – and this is the railway equivalent. This £2.7 million investment in cloud-based technology will provide real time data to the operator and maintenance staff, so they can foresee emerging issues early and deal with them as they arise, improving responsiveness and reliability whilst reducing maintenance costs. This is part of our continued support into a key fleet for both TransPennine Express and their customers.'
Grant Shapps under fire over Pacer train disposals
The transport secretary Grant Shapps has celebrated the re-use of redundant Pacer trains as a hospital family support centre, a kitchen for a mental health charity and a children's classroom, but he has come under fire. Labour shadow education secretary Kate Green said: 'Trying to turn a few old train carriages into classrooms shows the Conservatives' contempt for children’s learning. Everyone across the North knows they weren’t good enough for passengers and they aren’t good enough for our children. During the last decade, Conservative governments have allowed our schools to fall into disrepair with billions of pounds of maintenance now needed, while the number of children in supersized classes of over 30 children has increased to nearly a million.'