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Press Coverage Of Queens Park Sidings Incident Which Saw Young Child On Track

Yesterday we reported the story of a 12 year old boy who had been taken into the sidings on the Bakerloo Line onboard an out of service train. The boy then climbed out between carriages into an area with live tracks and moving trains.

The boy managed to "shimmy up and over the ‘inner car barriers’ and out of the train. He could have killed himself as his means of exit from the train was directly going onto the live positive rail. He got out of the train into an area of 4 live running roads; it was only the actions of the driver that prevented a fatality."

The story has been covered fairly widely in the press.

The Evening Standard says:

A 12-year old boy escaped death on the Tube after accidentally being carried into sidings and jumping from the train onto the track narrowly missing the 430 volt live rail.

It is the third incident in two weeks of children on the Tube tracks and sparked a major row over Tube safety.

Hundreds of passengers are being mistakenly carried into sidings when trains are taken out of service because Bakerloo line trains are no longer physically checked they are empty before they move off.

RMT has long warned that removing staff whose job it was to physically check that the trains are empty is dangerous.

ITV News points out that it is the third recent similar case; where staff have stopped or reduced the danger or injury to passengers:

It's the third case in as many weeks of a child getting on to tracks on the Underground. Two weeks ago, an eight-year-old was led to safety by a cleaning contractor after being spotted on tracks near Stanmore. Last week a 12-year-old girl was hit by a tube train in Brixton.

The current procedures imposed by LU management for 'detraining' - or emptying a train of passengers - before entering the sidings at Queen's Park is to make announcements and flash the lights on and off. However as the Huffington Post states this can be missed and the result can be very dangerous:

As the train left the platform to head into sidings, which are smaller, less busy lines used for trains with no passengers, the boy realised what he had done and, "afraid that he had done something wrong", climbed from the carriage connecting doors and leapt down onto the tracks.

In the Independent, it is reported that it was the 'alert driver' who prevented tragedy. Yet another example of the necessity for fully trained drivers on the front of each and every train. They also report calls for an investigation, but the fix seems fairly clear - trained station staff on the platform physically checking that the train is clear of passengers as has been the norm for several years and is done on all other underground lines:

There are calls for a major Tube safety investigation today after a 12-year old boy made his way onto live tracks – the third such incident involving children in the last two weeks....

The incident sparked an outcry from the Tube's two train unions - Aslef and the RMT - over the way passengers are told a train is to be taken out of service and into sidings or depots.

Hundreds of passengers are being mistakenly carried into sidings when trains are taken out of service because Bakerloo Line trains are no longer physically checked they are empty before they move off.

Bob Crow, RMT General Secretary is quoted by the Press Association. He says:

"With London Mayor Boris Johnson mouthing soundbites about driverless trains and de-staffing the Tube at the Tory conference, yet again only the quick intervention of a driver prevented a 12-year-old boy, who had managed to shimmy up and over the inner car barriers and out of the train, from getting hit by a moving a train or electrocuted on the rails.
"Management have rightly called an investigation into this shocking incident but this does not go far enough for RMT safety reps. We want a meeting to review the whole detrainment process and a return to a safe way of working."

There is also a quote in the article from PA from Nigel Holness - LUL head of operations - who acknowledges that passengers can at times miss the announcements and flashing lights meant to alert them that a train is being taken into the sidings:

"This can happen should a person not hear the three announcements that are always made before a train is taken out of service. In these circumstances anyone that is found will be escorted back to a station or depot."

Finally The Telegraph writes that the boy had squeezed through protective barriers meant to prevent such incidents:

When the boy found himself in the sidings, he opened the door at the end of the carriage, squeezed past the inner car barrier intended to stop people trying to leave trains in such situations, and got on to the track.

The Telegraph headline is slightly misleading as it says "Boy jumped from Tube after staff failed to notice he was still on board"; however the article goes on to explain:

Trains used to be physically checked to ensure they were empty before they moved into the sidings but the practice was abandoned several years ago.

The reason this incident happened wasn't because staff 'failed to notice' him, it was because LU no longer has staff in place on platforms to notice - in reality thoroughly check - that trains are empty.