Festive crowds reminded to stand back when train doors are closing

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In the run-up to Christmas, don’t let a rush for the doors be the advent of something more sinister, warns rail body RSSB.

People using trains in the run-up to Christmas are being reminded to stand back from train doors when they are closing and take extra care.

The warning comes as trains and stations are expected to be busier with shoppers and party-goers in the weeks leading up to Christmas Eve.

The train is one of the safest forms of transport, but the prospect of more people travelling in a rush, carrying more luggage, scarves, straps, shopping bags all represent a risk.

Research published last year by rail industry body RSSB has shown that nearly three quarters of passengers will still try to get on a train once the door alarm starts to sound, with over half still intent on boarding just before the doors start to close.

Two thirds of rail passengers failed to associate the door close alarm as meaning “stand back”, with most disregarding it and continuing to board, focus group work found.

The majority of passengers also mistakenly believe that all train doors are like lift doors, and will always re-open if something was obstructed in them, RSSB says.

Respect the Edge - luggage poster

Over 1.7 billion journeys are made by passengers every year. And although train travel is fundamentally safe, and far safer than travelling by road, in the worst cases, passengers have suffered major injuries after being trapped in the doors and dragged by the train. Such unfortunate incidents have happened earlier this year at Notting Hill Gate (Underground) and Bushey. In recent years there have been similar incidents at King’s Cross (2011), Jarrow (April 2012), Newcastle Central (June 2013), West Wickham (April 2015), and Hayes and Harlington (July 2015),

However, RSSB’s research has shown that a significant number of people – 16% - will still try to board even as the doors are physically closing together in front of them, putting themselves at risk. Even in cases where no one is injured, incidents can cause unnecessary delays to trains.

The industry is raising passenger awareness of the issue through its Respect The Edge campaign, and encourage more vigilant behaviour, in spite of the pressures many will feel to hurry for their train.

RSSB’s Director of Standards Tom Lee, said: “We want everyone to stay safe this Christmas. Whether you’re out for the shops, carol service, office party, football match or holiday getaway, don’t let a rush for the doors be the advent of something more sinister. Train travel is really safe, but to stay even safer, and avoid a nasty accident, please keep back from the edge and don’t try to get on or off once the door alarm starts to sound.”

“Remember to keep things like bags, straps, scarves and coats away from the doors to avoid them getting trapped. Despite their appearance, train doors are not like lift doors, and won’t necessarily re-open if something is trapped in them.”

Below is a video animation showing the key statistics and safety messages.

Further information

Examples of other Respect The Edge social media posts, posters and digital display at stations can be downloaded here:

The rail industry works with RSSB to reduce the risk at the platform edge – you can find out more at:

The research which revealed passenger perceptions and attitudes towards door closure formed part of a project “Optimising door closure arrangements to improve boarding and alighting” (reference T1102), which was completed in May 2017.

The fieldwork consisted of interviews at mainline railway stations across the country, and was conducted by two human factors specialists between October and December 2016. This work was undertaken for RSSB by DNV GL.

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