Fatal accident on the DLR

Adlington

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The Evening News writes (undated, but AFAIK published on Wednesday 19 June pm):

Flora Shen, 36, a director at Barclays Investment Bank, was standing alone at Limehouse station when she appeared to trip and fall off the edge of the platform, just as a train was approaching the stop.

A DLR passenger witnessed Ms Shen’s plunge but could not find a way to stop the train before she was struck, while another person on the platform dashed for the emergency button but did not get there in time, an inquest at Southwark coroner’s court heard
The article continues:
For a passenger to raise the alarm they must activate one of the alarms at the train doors, and the assistant has to unlock the emergency telephone, understand the danger, lock the telephone up again, and use another key to get to the emergency brake before the train can be stopped.
Is the emergency stopping procedure really so complicated, and therefore slow?

And another question: why this accident isn't listed on the RAIB site?
 
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edwin_m

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And another question: why this accident isn't listed on the RAIB site?
RAIB normally doesn't put anything on their site until they've done a preliminary investigation and decided whether to do a report or a Safety Digest. This typically takes a couple of weeks.
 

jopsuk

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RAIB normally doesn't put anything on their site until they've done a preliminary investigation and decided whether to do a report or a Safety Digest. This typically takes a couple of weeks.
The incident was on 6th January, as per the article. The description of the process is from the Coroner's report.
 

bengley

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Dare I say that if the train was operated by a driver, this probably wouldn't have happened. Not good.
 

John Webb

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There appears to be no mention of this incident on the RAIB website even as a news item. Either they may not have been told about it (that happens!) or they have been waiting for the inquest to take place, which they sometimes do when there has been a fatality.
 

Trackman

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The article continues:Is the emergency stopping procedure really so complicated, and therefore slow?
The way see it if they are not at the EDP (driving console):
Emergency light on door control panel with audible alarm.
PSA goes to nearest EDP, arms desk with key making emergency plunger active and picks up phone (the phone and the plunger are all in the driving console).
I don't understand the other key business to activate the emergency plunger, the key for the PSA control panel is different than the driving console and that is all I can think of.
Maybe a PSA can enlighten us?
 

Bletchleyite

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I wonder if this could lead to the installation of platform edge doors? Half height ones would do to stop an incident like this.

That said, I'm surprised the units don't have a true emergency brake, i.e. stop first, ask questions later, as well as platform stop plungers as some Tube lines have.
 

Taunton

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The DLR has operated for over 30 years like this, and hardly has the experience of the Underground, where such incidents are sadly an almost weekly event.

There is a certain type of fatality which the RAIB do not do reports on.

The last RAIB report on the DLR was notably the opposite, the departure incident at Bank where the operator was at the front console, whereas if they had been at the door position instead it was unlikely to have happened.
 

rebmcr

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I wonder if this could lead to the installation of platform edge doors? Half height ones would do to stop an incident like this.

That said, I'm surprised the units don't have a true emergency brake, i.e. stop first, ask questions later, as well as platform stop plungers as some Tube lines have.
There are platform buttons, though it's unclear what their exact effect is.
 

NotATrainspott

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On the Nuremberg U-Bahn lines fitted with UTO, there are obstacle detectors at platforms which should stop trains coming in if someone or something big has fallen onto the tracks.

With the new single-train rolling stock it'll be easier to justify the cost of PEDs as the door arrangement will be in its final evolution. With PEDs you're pretty much stuck with one type of door arrangement for the rest of time, unless you are willing to remove the PEDs completely before switching to a different type of rolling stock.
 

Ploughman

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I wonder if this could lead to the installation of platform edge doors? Half height ones would do to stop an incident like this.

That said, I'm surprised the units don't have a true emergency brake, i.e. stop first, ask questions later, as well as platform stop plungers as some Tube lines have.
Would Half height Platform edge doors stop someone falling over them?
It may make the situation worse for someone who cannot see very clearly or for someone who is wandering about on their mobile especially while waiting for a train.
 

PG

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There is a certain type of fatality which the RAIB do not do reports on.
Indeed, and it doesn't appear to be clear from the 'Preventing Future Deaths' report by the coroner if he considers this incident is in that particular category. I can't seem to find any online record of the coroners verdict though it may be that the coroner has not yet reached a verdict.
 

ijmad

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I wonder if this could lead to the installation of platform edge doors? Half height ones would do to stop an incident like this.

That said, I'm surprised the units don't have a true emergency brake, i.e. stop first, ask questions later, as well as platform stop plungers as some Tube lines have.
No doubt, although the new CAF stock will have an entirely different carriage and door arrangement. Fixed formation, 5 cars, 13 doors per side (2+3+3+3+2) vs the B07/09s which are articulated single cars run in twos or threes with 4 doors per car.

Unless they spend billions replacing them we'll be stuck with mixed door configurations for the next decade or so and thus PEDs would likely be impossible.

Obstacle detectors do seem like a good idea.
 
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stuu

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Would Half height Platform edge doors stop someone falling over them?
It may make the situation worse for someone who cannot see very clearly or for someone who is wandering about on their mobile especially while waiting for a train.
They are usually at least 4 ft high, you would have to do something spectacular to fall over one accidentally
 

edwin_m

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I seem to recall one case where RAIB held back publishing anything until the inquest result. Regardless of the cause there may be something worth investigating around the apparent difficulty of stopping the train quickly.
 

61653 HTAFC

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Dare I say that if the train was operated by a driver, this probably wouldn't have happened. Not good.
Surely that depends on how much time there was between the person falling and the train arriving. AIUI the DLR stock doesn't have magnetic brakes as found on trams, so wouldn't be able to stop on a sixpence.

Making an emergency stop procedure "simpler" is also a balance. As tragic and horrific as this incident was, it is a fairly rare combination of coincidental circumstances that led to it. Big red emergency stop buttons at every other seat would potentially be a boon to those wishing to cause disruption through anti-social behaviour.

My deepest sympathy to the friends and family of the woman, and of course to those who witnessed this tragic accident and had to deal with the aftermath.
 

PG

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I'd also add that, unlike a lot of other rail based public transport, DLR offers passengers a view forwards which in circumstances such as this means that they get to see that which normally only train drivers see. A lot of other rail based public transport doesn't have a forward view so passengers won't see an impending incident.

Not wishing to be insensitive but if that view wasn't available then passengers would be spared the traumatic view. However of itself I don't consider that a valid reason for removal of the view from passengers, not to mention the expense involved in modifying the trains.
 

357

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Logic would say that the passengers at the front are the best placed to see an emergency situation anywhere on the train - so I think installing a PEA at the front is not too much to ask.

Around 15 years ago I was on a DLR train that had the PEA activated, and I am sure the train stopped... I know for sure they stop when they no longer have interlock (unlike LUL trains that simply can't take power)
 

Inthewest

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Making an emergency stop procedure "simpler" is also a balance. As tragic and horrific as this incident was, it is a fairly rare combination of coincidental circumstances that led to it. Big red emergency stop buttons at every other seat would potentially be a boon to those wishing to cause disruption through anti-social behaviour.
And this is it.
A series of unfortunate events that is so rare it's only happened once does not warrant spending millions on safety. Sounds cold but that's just the way it is.
It's like English Heritage. Listed status trumps health and safety.

I'd also add that, unlike a lot of other rail based public transport, DLR offers passengers a view forwards which in circumstances such as this means that they get to see that which normally only train drivers see. A lot of other rail based public transport doesn't have a forward view so passengers won't see an impending incident.
Although the passengers have a choice to watch...
It's not forced upon them. Curiosity drives this - much like people rubber necking on motorways - and yet then people say they should have been protected from seeing such events.
 

gsnedders

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Logic would say that the passengers at the front are the best placed to see an emergency situation anywhere on the train - so I think installing a PEA at the front is not too much to ask.
This honestly has always been the biggest surprise to me: the lack of one at the front. Obviously positioning might be slightly tricky (you have the door, the cab, and the equipment box variously there), but it seems like such an obvious place to put one.

That said, in reality, I expect someone falling directly in front of the train will always be a hard case: I wonder how quickly a passenger would press it on average from someone falling in front of the train.

No doubt, although the new CAF stock will have an entirely different carriage and door arrangement. Fixed formation, 5 cars, 13 doors per side (2+3+3+3+2) vs the B07/09s which are articulated single cars run in twos or threes with 4 doors per car.

Unless they spend billions replacing them we'll be stuck with mixed door configurations for the next decade or so and thus PEDs would likely be impossible.

Obstacle detectors do seem like a good idea.
There's plenty of places around the Tokyo area where you have PEDs and mixed-stock: you simply provide PEDs for all train formations, and open the appropriate PEDs for the stock in the station. This would likely imply standardising the B07/09 stopping positions so that four/six car formations stop appropriately (i.e., a four-car would stop either at the same place or 1/3rd back). For some of the busier stations (Shadwell? Bank?) I'm honestly surprised there are PEDs: they're certainly very, very crowded in the peaks (and Bank is often bad partly due to people waiting by where the doors are open if it's the wrong destination!).
 

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