A trial by Heathrow Express to use gap fillers has significantly reduced the number of incidents at the platform-train interface (PTI). RSSB will use the evidence from this trial to update standard GI/RT7016.
Heathrow Airport Limited and Heathrow Express trialled the use of gap fillers along its platforms at Heathrow Airport, leading to a fall in the number of incidents at the PTI from 15 to two per year. The fillers are made from a rubbery material, which remains firm when passengers stand on them, but flexible if it were to come into contact with rolling stock.
The gap at the PTI always poses a risk; but for passengers travelling through Heathrow Airport, there are additional factors to consider. Many are unfamiliar with the GB network and they generally have lots of heavy luggage.
In 2014, Heathrow applied to RSSB for a deviation from standard GI/RT7016, Interface between station platform, track and train, and was granted the deviation for two years. This deviation is due to expire in January 2017.
Heathrow Airport is now planning to apply for a permanent deviation from the standard backed up with the evidence from the trial. RSSB’s Infrastructure Standards Committee has already debated the issue of gap fillers. RSSB now intends to write and incorporate guidance on their use into an updated version of GI/RT7016, so that guidance is available to train operators and station managers who wish to use gap fillers. This will be available to industry in 2017.