Heathrow Express installs platform gap-fillers to cut passenger accidents

30 April 2015  •  Author: Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, European Railway Review

Heathrow Express has announced it is to install platform gap-fillers at stations to reduce the risk of passenger accidents.

Heathrow Express installs platform gap-fillers

The pioneering new system, developed by Australian company Delkor Rail, will be implemented to sit along the edge of station platforms reducing the size of the gap between the train and platform edge. Heathrow Express is the first train operator in the UK to introduce the safety technology.

Stepboard accidents occur when a passenger falls between the train and the platform edge, they account for 48 percent of overall fatalities and cause knock-on delays to train services.

A year-long trial at Heathrow Express’ Heathrow Terminal 5 station found there were no stepboard incidents wherever gap-fillers were in use. The devices are now set to be installed at all Heathrow Express train stations by the end of May 2015.

Platform gap-filler

Joanne Lewis, head of safety for Heathrow Express, commented on the installation: “Our top priority is ensuring Heathrow Express, and the rail industry as a whole, is as safe as possible for customers and employees. 

“Stepboard accidents are a concern across the rail industry, and for good reason; they can be fatal. With demand for rail travel predicted to double over the next 30 years in the UK, devices like gap-fillers could be a big help.”

The gap-fillers also provide enhanced access for disabled passengers and improve the efficiency of passengers boarding, reducing delays.

Heathrow Express, which carries 17,000 people a day between Paddington and Heathrow, is now working with the Rail Safety & Standards Board (RSSB) and other train operating companies (TOCs) in developing industry-wide National Platform Train Interface (PTI) and Platform Gap-Filler strategies.

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