Merseyrail James St Fatality - Guard Questioned!!!???

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by 185, 9 Nov 2011.

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  1. 185

    185 Established Member

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    Re- James St underground (Wirral Platform) fatality - teenager crushed in gap.

    Anyone know what BTP and Merseyrail are playing at here??

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-15640188

    I may be wrong, but I've heard it's the guard has been brought in for questioning and bailed for a few months. How was it his responsibility when there's no opening window, and chances are the platform may have been packed?

    ----

    Update 4 Feb 2012 - Guard now charged with manslaughter by BTP. :roll:
     
    Last edited: 4 Feb 2012
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  3. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    It doesn't say he was the guard in that article, it says he is an employee of Merseyrail. James Street station does have station staff.
     
  4. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

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    Two words - 'Oh dear'. :(

    Let's hope the police investigation is swift and thorugh.
     
  5. raildude

    raildude Member

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  6. Old Timer

    Old Timer Established Member

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    It does NOT say anyone was bailed, and in such situations where a fatality has occurred it is the case that someone can be suspended following a Police interview without the Police taking any formal action.

    From an earlier report.
    There is an awful lot of assumption on here, without hardly any factual backup.
     
  7. raildude

    raildude Member

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    Released on bail until 11 January 2012. Suspicion of manslaughter. Will find link soon.

    He must have been arrested to be bailed.
     
  8. ANorthernGuard

    ANorthernGuard Established Member

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    I really hope this has just been the police covering their options and not actively pursuing the guard, it makes all our positions untenable, if we cannot see anything apart from what is out of the window what the hell are we supposed to???
     
  9. GB

    GB Established Member

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    An arrest in these sorts of situations is not actually indicative of guilt and the fact that he has been released on Police bail suggests there is not enough evidence (at this time) to charge him with anything.

    There is no point in us getting worked up untill the investigation is complete.
     
  10. amcluesent

    amcluesent Member

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    Hopefully he paid his subs and the Union is providing legal support
     
  11. Old Timer

    Old Timer Established Member

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    There is no suggestion he was released on bail, someone else has assumed this. He was released following questioning, although why it had to be done overnight escapes me when it could have been carried out during the day. Probably done for "effect".

    If he has any sense he will be with his Union lawyer at all times, and this is certainly a good demonstration as any as to why being a Union member is useful
     
  12. raildude

    raildude Member

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    BTP said he was released on bail until 11 January 2012! (BBC News for one source)
     
  13. strange6

    strange6 Established Member

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    If the guard followed his procedures to the letter then he should be ok. Having said that, if there are dispatch staff present then they are more culpable if tragic situations like this occur, especially if the RA procedure is in place for train dispatching at the station. I don't know anything about this particular station in terms of procedure.
     
  14. the sniper

    the sniper Established Member

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    Nothing about being arrest under suspicion of manslaughter on the BBC News website article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-15640188, but he has been bailed.

    He's also been suspended on full pay, according to the article.
     
  15. GB

    GB Established Member

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    It clearly states in the article linked in the OP he was released on bail.
     
  16. Jock

    Jock Member

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    Im glad someone mentioned the word 'procedures' here.

    Im curious to know (and will probably never find out) whether the Guard remained at the door control panel until the train was clear of the platform. Which some of you will remember was a instruction which was removed from the rulebook circa 2008 (for power operated door stock).

    I do recall one TOC which didnt acknowledge the instructions removal and instructed its guards to remain at the door control panel untill the train cleared the platform at all times.

    Im left wondering (and yes i know this may breed speculation - i apologise if it does) what the dispatch procedure for merseyrail stock is. If it is as per rulebook instructions, whereby the guard DOES NOT have to remain at the Door Control Panel any longer, then surely this creates a firm case for said instruction to be put back into the rulebook and rescinded?

    Of course, i am fully away there maybe local dispatch arrangements involved here.
     
  17. ANorthernGuard

    ANorthernGuard Established Member

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    That would be Northern (At least)
     
  18. strange6

    strange6 Established Member

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    It was drilled into me never to leave the controls and to keep your hand on them until you could no longer see the platform. And all of my collegues still carry this out.
     
  19. FGWman

    FGWman Member

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    Yes but it is no longer required so I dont see it being relevant to this situation.
     
  20. strange6

    strange6 Established Member

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    Nobody knows what's relevant to this tragic situation.
     
  21. 313103

    313103 On Moderation

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    The procedures in place whether we like them or not are there to protect you as an individual and the company as a whole. As i wasn't there i cannot comment on the incident nor do i wish to speculate either.

    It is something that us Guards have to accept as being part of the job. I helped one of my Guards in a similar although not fatal incident. Class 313s and 507/8s are very similar. In the incident i helped a Guard who was put on suspension. He was working a train and a person who was drunk stumbled towards the train, as the train started to move the person fell and lost both his legs (he fell between the second and third coach. The Guard could not see anything despite doing his job by standing by the door control panel. It was a island platform so he couldnt look back out of the rear window because it was the drivers side. The first he became aware of such incident was when the train arrived at its destination. The Guards was arrested but released later and similar to the above Guard was suspended.

    London Overground still insist that Guards still stand at the panel they are working from until that portion of the train has cleared the platform. If they are working from the rear cab of a class 172 or 378 the Guards are required to stand by the door panel, if they are caught not doing this disciplinary action may be taken against them.
     
    Last edited: 9 Nov 2011
  22. O L Leigh

    O L Leigh Established Member

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    Speculation is futile.

    There are so many holes in the reports of this incident to make discussion impossible. Was the guard at the panel? What could the guard see from his/her vantage point? What happened after the person fell between the train and the platform? We simply don't know at this stage, therefore it is not possible to judge whether or not the actions of the guard were causal in this particular event.

    I may be mistaken, but my limited understanding of Police procedures is that if a person is being interviewed as anything other than a witness this has to be done "under caution", but you can only be cautioned if you have been arrested for an alleged offence. However, this doesn't mean that there is necessarily any indication of wrong-doing. In this incident it is possible that the actions of the guard lead to this person's death, therefore they are more than merely a witness and could possibly face criminal charges for it. Therefore the Police will treat him/her differently to, say, someone standing on the platform.

    O L Leigh
     
  23. cumfy

    cumfy Member

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    From the inquest:
    http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/live...evealed-at-liverpool-inquest-100252-29681990/
    I presume the inquest has been adjourned, for the time-being.
     
  24. GB

    GB Established Member

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    An arrest is not needed to be cautioned. A caution ( note a "Police Caution" is different)is only the act of reading one their rights and in no way indicates guilt.
     
  25. BestWestern

    BestWestern Established Member

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    Several TOC's still have the rule in place regarding observation of the platform when dispatching, including Northern, FGW, I believe Virgin and, as stated above, LOROL. I've no idea whether it applies on Merseyrail, but even if it does, your view of the platform is very limited and if a person had fallen between platform and train it is perfectly possible that you would not be aware, even if your part of the train passed over them. There is also the issue of positioning of course, if the Guard was towards the front of the train and a person fell towards the rear, it is unlikely that he will be aware.

    I'd imagine any culpability on the part of the Guard would hinge only on what was happening at the moment he closed his local door and gave the tip. If this was to happen when a person was clearly acting in a dangerous manner, such as standing against the train, then some blame would be apportioned. However provided the person was stood away from the train at the point of dispatch I see no negligence on the Guard's part.

    It is unfortunate that the railway must take almost total responsibility for people who end up in this position, often through foolhardiness or excessive alcohol consumption. However, such is the job and it is at times like this where we must all remember that, however watered down the Guard grade might be in today's railway, we have a vital safety role to play. My thoughts go out to our colleague, let's hope this is resolved swiftly and he can return to his job.
     
  26. sonorguy

    sonorguy Member

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    However it is necessary if you've been bailed, as is the case here, then there is at least the suspicion (correctly or incorrectly at this point) that something has happened that requires further investigation.
     
  27. 185

    185 Established Member

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    bit more:
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    http://www.wirralnews.co.uk/wirral-...guard-close-train-doors-early-80491-29780428/

    Georgia Varley: did guard close train doors early?
    Nov 16 2011 by Luke Traynor, Birkenhead News

    THE guard of the train which killed a Wirral teenager was quizzed about suggestions he closed the automatic doors too early, it has emerged. Merseyrail suspended the 44-year-old in the days after the fatal accident involving Georgia Varley, 16, at James Street station in Liverpool.

    The guard had been operating the service into Liverpool city centre at the end of October when Georgia, a pupil at Birkenhead Sixth Form College, fell on the tracks and died. The employee was interviewed under caution by British Transport Police, but not arrested. It is understood officers questioned him over when he decided to shut the train doors at James Street.

    Following her death CCTV footage of Georgia emerged showing her leaning against the train. It is understood Merseyrail guards have a duty of care towards passengers as part of the remit of their job. They must ensure the safety of passengers, including when alighting or disembarking the train. It is this section of their role, it is believed, which British Transport Police suspect may have been contravened. The guard was released on bail pending further enquiries. Georgia was killed on Saturday October 22 while she was on a night out with friends. They had left a party in Hoylake and were heading into the city centre.
     
  28. mickey

    mickey Member

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    This is the bit that has caused concern. I don't want to fuel any speculation, and hope very much that it's all just part of a proper BTP investigation that will eventually show it was just an unfortunate accident, but the word locally (and it's been much discussed round here) is that the guard closed the doors and/or gave the signal for the train to leave while she was leaning against it, and from reports it seems CCTV suggests this too. The train was heading into Liverpool so the platform will not have been busy (the few people - if any - who boarded there will have all got on that train as from that point all trains call at all three stations), and it is absolutely right that he was questioned about what he saw and how he acted. I'd be more concerned if that *hadn't* happened. From my own experience staff on late turns are often in a hurry to get home, to the extent that the last train on my branch leaves 2 mins early almost every day, and I sincerely hope this is not what happened here.

    As an interesting aside, the girl's family are now calling for platform gates to be installed, a move Merseyrail has so far resisted. (LINK)
     
  29. WelshBluebird

    WelshBluebird Established Member

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    Perhaps I am being a bit cold hearted or whatever, but to me leaning against a trains doors is a bit stupid anyway. Certainly something that would ring alarm bells in my mind if I saw someone doing it. I understand the railways need to be as safe as reasonable possible, but sometimes you cannot do anything to stop people putting themselves in dangerous positions. Even if the guard did dispatch the train in a rush, surely the person should not have been leaning against the train in the first place??
     
  30. Matt Taylor

    Matt Taylor Established Member

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    Local gossip is precisely that, gossip. Only the guard and driver know exactly when the signal to proceed was given, the OTMR data will no doubt be produced if a case is brought against the guard. I don't know what happened any more than you do so I would advise against talking on the matter unless you have some real information to bring to the discussion rather than idle gossip.
     
  31. vjm1975

    vjm1975 Member

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    Also, quite a lot of people alight from Liverpool bound trains at James Street station. So even though there may be few if any passengers boarding, trains are normally ready to depart when there are still quite a lot of people on the platform making their way towards the exit.
     
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