A warning has been issued to parents and wheelchair users at train stations after a woman in a wheelchair was almost pulled onto the tracks by a train’s slipstream.
The railway station accident happened when a disabled teenage girl was waiting on the platform and a non-stop train passed through.
Wheelchair had brakes applied
The girl was injured when her wheelchair hit the freight train travelling at around 45mph at Twyford station in Berkshire on April 7 last year.
She and her mother were waiting to catch a train and had her wheelchair 2.4 metres from the platform edge, parallel to the track and with the brakes applied.
But the freight train’s slipstream was so strong that it pulled the wheelchair towards the tracks. The chair made “multiple glancing contacts with the wagons” of the train, according to a report by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB).
Fortunately, the final collision pushed the wheelchair clear of the train and not under it. The girl was left with a minor injury to her foot.
A member of staff from the ticket office and a passenger witnessed the accident and helped the girl. Her mother had left to buy a drink and did not see the collision.
The RAIB recommended that the Rail Delivery Group – which represents train operators and Network Rail – should inform passengers of the “potential hazards from train slipstreams” and the need to “apply brakes and keep hold of wheelchairs and pushchairs when non-stopping trains pass through stations”.
It also urged the Rail Safety and Standards Board to investigate measures to improve the safety of wheelchair and pushchair users at stations.
Investigators found that the driver of the train was unaware of what happened and his actions had “no bearing” on the incident. The train was carrying stone products from Somerset quarries to London for use in construction projects.
Source: Evening Standard
Date Published: February 2, 2017
Author: Jonathan Brown