If you have travelled by train in the UK, chances are you have seen the ubiquitous yellow line, found on most station platforms. Most of us don’t stop to question why it is there or why we should pay attention to it – in fact, personal safety is one of the last things on our minds when we are rushing to commute to work or get home from the office. The yellow line on the platform is a warning to stay back from the edge. It tells you the safe distance to stand as the train pulls into the station. Yet at busy stations across the country, people ignore the yellow line to ensure that they are the first to board the train and have a chance at getting a seat. So why should you pay attention to this potentially life-saving line?
Why is the yellow line there?
According to Railway Group Standards, at stations where trains are travelling between 100 and 125mph, the yellow line must be ‘1500mm from the platform edge‘ unless this would cause overcrowding. This is because there are a number of risks to those on the platform when trains are pulling in or travelling through a station without stopping. Accident Advice Helpline has handled a number of claims after train accidents and here are some of those risks:
An icy platform or a platform that is slippery for other reasons could put passengers in danger. Those who stand on the wrong side of the yellow line could be at risk as the train comes to a complete stop. You could slip and fall into the space between the train doors and the platform, sustaining serious injuries or even being killed.
Windy days put passengers at risk, which is why it is even more important to stay behind the yellow line during windy weather. A strong gust of wind can cause you to lose your balance and you could fall into the path of an oncoming train – it’s unlikely you will survive. A gust of wind could also blow loose clothing such as a scarf and cause it to become entangled in the train, putting you at risk of strangulation.
If your station is a through station then trains may pass through without stopping, for example cargo trains. Because trains are large and travel at such high speeds, they can create air pockets which leads to similar conditions to windy days, and you could lose your balance. Staying behind the yellow line means you are less likely to be knocked off your feet by an air pocket as trains speed through a station – and if you do lose your balance you will be a safe distance from the edge of the platform.
Are yellow lines mandatory?
There are some stations across the UK where you won’t find yellow lines. In fact, they are mandatory at stations where trains pass at 100mph or faster, but they can often be found at stations where train speeds are less too. Originally, yellow lines were in use in the 1920s to encourage passengers to stand well back from slam door trains – there was a risk of these doors being opened whilst the train was still in motion. Although we no longer use these types of trains, yellow lines remain, although their use at some stations is under review.
How dangerous is train travel in the UK?
We’re not suggesting that you are at risk of accident and injury every time you travel by train – in fact in 2014/15 there were only four passenger fatalities in the UK at stations – two at the platform/train interface on the mainline and one on the London Underground. But you should still be aware of your personal safety when you’re at the station. Slips, trips and falls remain the leading cause of accidents at stations across the country. In 2013, Network Rail released a video of accidents caught on CCTV at stations in the UK, in a bid to promote passenger safety. Over 1,600 people were hurt in slips, trips and falls at stations in 2012/13, and these included people who:
- Fell in the gap between the train and the platform
- Slipped or tripped on the platform itself
- Fell on steps and escalators
- Tripped over luggage or other hazards
- Tripped and fell getting onto or off trains
So whilst train travel isn’t necessarily dangerous, it does pay to be aware of the dangers and your surroundings the next time you are at the station.
Slip, trip and fall injuries at stations
Whether you were behind the yellow line or not, you could find you’re entitled to claim compensation for a slip, trip or fall accident at a station, if somebody else was to blame for your accident. In fact, claims for accidents on the London Underground reached over 2.5 million in the last four years, according to an Freedom Of Information request by The Telegraph in 2013, with 661 injuries reported between 2009 and 2012. So if you have been injured due to somebody else’s negligence and you have sustained an injury after a slip, trip or fall, you could be eligible to claim personal injury compensation. These types of injuries can range from minor strains, cuts and bruises to serious head injuries and facial injuries – even lost teeth.
You can get in touch with Accident Advice Helpline to find out if you are eligible to claim compensation on a no win no fee basis. Just call us on 0800 689 5659 to see if you could make a claim and get confidential, no-obligation advice, however you have been injured. We have been endorsed by our patron, TV personality Dame