The UK rail industry experiences approximately 1,500 Platform Train Interface (PTI) incidents a year, with thirty-eight of those over the course of the last 10 years resulting in a fatality. Improving safety performance and capacity at the PTI is therefore a priority across industry. This priority was put into sharp focus following the PTI incident at James Street in 2011 which resulted in a fatality.

In recognition of this industry-wide priority and in response to RAIB recommendations, we established a cross-industry PTI Strategy Group. Working collaboratively with the group, which included representatives from Network Rail and the wider industry, the first ever PTI National Strategy was developed and published in 2015. This document, which we co-authored with Network Rail, was underpinned by a body of research, looking at the human factors, operational and infrastructure engineering issues associated with PTI.

Following publication of the strategy, the focus moved to implementation and the PTI Working Group was set up to deliver this. The PTI Working Group selected three focus themes from the strategy each year to create our work programme to help improve safety at the Platform Train Interface. Since the publication of the strategy in 2015, this has included:

  • A number of passenger safety campaigns with Network Rail such as the Lend A Helping Hand Campaign, campaigns on intoxication and our soon-to-be-launched new campaign titled Respect the Edge. As part of these campaigns we provide our members with the materials they need (such as posters, leaflets and materials to support staff) to influence passenger behaviour at the platform edge.
  • A staff booklet on the risks and hazards of the PTI and the behaviours that staff can show to reduce those risks. A number of train operating companies have made use of this material, incorporating it into their inductions for station and platform staff.
  • Non-technical skills learning materials for dispatchers and guards to help improve safety during dispatch. This includes guidance for risk triggered commentary.
  • Guidance on creating competence development plans for guards and dispatch staff.

In addition to this toolkit, we have funded and managed a number of industry projects to trial new approaches for better managing safety at the PTI. These include looking at options for influencing passenger behaviour, and modelling the impact of station and platform infrastructure on safety and boarding and alighting rates. These projects have been complimented by a whole range of research projects including projects relating to luggage risk, passing trains, driver only operation and dispatch.

To further help our members improve safety at the PTI we re-scoped, revised and republished RIS-3703-TOM which sets out the industry standard for platform train dispatch and platform safety. Published in September 2017, this updated standard includes:

  • Revisions to the risk assessment section to provide a more holistic risk assessment of the PTI, linked to taking safe decisions
  • Updated information on PTI and train dispatch including changes to the guidance for these
  • Changes to the overall content to ensure it applies to all duty holders
  • Recommendations from recent research on platform safety and train dispatch

All in all, our work has resulted in a far better understanding and management of risk, safety performance and capacity at the Platform Train Interface. We have received a lot of positive feedback, with members saying our work has led to a direct improvement in their risk assessment processes and the non-technical skills of their staff. We are continually working with our members to ensure they can pick up and implement the Platform Train Interface information, guidance and tools we have developed to help our members improve capacity, performance and safety across the UK.