What procedures are followed when a person is hit by a train?

AlphaHotel

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Today while waiting for a train at kings norton (Cross city line) a passenger was hit by a service @ selly oak. The reason of this post is because its a poignant part of the rail industry. And if posts like this aren't allowed then remove it and it will be understood, but I looked on the Internet and saw nothing much, whats proccedures by train crew, station staff as well as on scene by for example by EMT's.

If you can add your two cents it will be appreciated. TIA

(Sorry in advanced if it a touchy/ sensitive topic.)
 
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seagull

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Generally the first thing to happen will be the driver initiating an Emergency Call on the GSMR (in-cab) radio - which alerts the signaller immediately and will also stop other trains in the vicinity. If the driver reports or even suspects "one-under" (as it's often called) then the signaller will in turn be initiating alerts to Network Rail Control, the Train Operating Company Control, British Transport Police, Fleet Engineers, and other emergency services as needed.
In some scenarios, if the driver is able to, they may also contact British Transport Police themselves to give their initial statement over the phone. The driver's Team Manager will also be alerted (whichever one is on call) and will come out, often accompanied by another driver who may have been spare or at home, this is so that the Team Manager can relieve the driver who's had the fatality on the spot.
After that, probably changes between companies, but sometimes, the driver concerned is driven back or taxied back to depot to give their "debriefing" and statement, before being taken home. The driver is obviously considered in no fit state to take any train anywhere after a fatality, and with good reason.

As far as the train and passengers affected: until the British Transport Police and forensic team have come out to conduct a full survey and search of the scene (which can take quite some time, as you might imagine a train doing 70mph could potentially convey, shall we say, debris, quite some distance during its emergency stop. The train itself needs to be checked too, so the Fleet Engineers / Rolling Stock Technicians do that, to see whether it can or cannot be moved safely. Then the clean-up starts, with a specialist team brought in, and again this can take quite some time.

And then it depends: if the train has suffered severe damage (in one case I know of, the oil sump got knocked clean off the underneath of the engine on a multiple unit) then it might be necessary to do a controlled evacuation of the passengers to either another train or a nearly platform. If it can safely proceed, it can only happen once the "crime scene" has been fully inspected and declared clear by the relevant authorities.

That's why the whole thing can easily take a couple of hours or more to clear, on the day.

And afterwards, the driver concerned will be offered counselling services, will generally be encouraged to have a suitable period of time off to ensure they are fit to return to work, and will have to give a full statement to the British Transport Police as well. These days the driver does not, afaik, have to attend the Coroner's Court, thankfully, as it was often said this could be more traumatic than the actual fatality itself, especially if the family of the bereaved decided to try and blame the driver for "not swerving" or "being distracted" or any number of things.

EDITED TO ADD: I forgot to add that the effect of having a fatality on the driver varies widely, nobody knows how they will react until it happens. I know of three drivers who have had over SEVEN fatalities in their career, and are still driving, but also of another who after one fatality never drove again. Largely that comes down to the circumstances: in the latter driver's case, it was two young children who were innocently playing on the track having been told it was fine by their step-parents, who were nearby sunbathing.
 

Highlandspring

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As far as the train and passengers affected: until the British Transport Police and forensic team have come out to conduct a full survey and search of the scene (which can take quite some time, as you might imagine a train doing 70mph could potentially convey, shall we say, debris, quite some distance during its emergency stop. The train itself needs to be checked too, so the Fleet Engineers / Rolling Stock Technicians do that, to see whether it can or cannot be moved safely. Then the clean-up starts, with a specialist team brought in, and again this can take quite some time.
Forensic recovery/scenes of crime is only required if the incident is categorised as unexplained or suspicious and this categorisation is based on the driver's statement to the British Transport Police fatality hotline. The driver is always requested to contact the hotline to allow categorisation to take place. If the fatality is classed as a non-suspicious deliberate act then the body recovery can start immediately.

In terms of clean up, recovery of the bodyparts is in fact carried out by British Transport Police (their officers get a £50 payment if they touch the body) sometimes assisted by Network Rail staff if they agree to it. The undertakers are subcontracted locally through Dignity and they're no longer allowed on the infrastructure, so the body is transported and handed over to them by the BTP at the access gate. Clean up of the scene, if it is needed, is by a contractor supervised by Network Rail but generally takes place some time after the body has been removed and in between trains once they are running normally again.
 
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AlphaHotel

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Generally the first thing to happen will be the driver initiating an Emergency Call on the GSMR (in-cab) radio - which alerts the signaller immediately and will also stop other trains in the vicinity. If the driver reports or even suspects "one-under" (as it's often called) then the signaller will in turn be initiating alerts to Network Rail Control, the Train Operating Company Control, British Transport Police, Fleet Engineers, and other emergency services as needed.
In some scenarios, if the driver is able to, they may also contact British Transport Police themselves to give their initial statement over the phone. The driver's Team Manager will also be alerted (whichever one is on call) and will come out, often accompanied by another driver who may have been spare or at home, this is so that the Team Manager can relieve the driver who's had the fatality on the spot.
After that, probably changes between companies, but sometimes, the driver concerned is driven back or taxied back to depot to give their "debriefing" and statement, before being taken home. The driver is obviously considered in no fit state to take any train anywhere after a fatality, and with good reason.

As far as the train and passengers affected: until the British Transport Police and forensic team have come out to conduct a full survey and search of the scene (which can take quite some time, as you might imagine a train doing 70mph could potentially convey, shall we say, debris, quite some distance during its emergency stop. The train itself needs to be checked too, so the Fleet Engineers / Rolling Stock Technicians do that, to see whether it can or cannot be moved safely. Then the clean-up starts, with a specialist team brought in, and again this can take quite some time.

And then it depends: if the train has suffered severe damage (in one case I know of, the oil sump got knocked clean off the underneath of the engine on a multiple unit) then it might be necessary to do a controlled evacuation of the passengers to either another train or a nearly platform. If it can safely proceed, it can only happen once the "crime scene" has been fully inspected and declared clear by the relevant authorities.

That's why the whole thing can easily take a couple of hours or more to clear, on the day.

And afterwards, the driver concerned will be offered counselling services, will generally be encouraged to have a suitable period of time off to ensure they are fit to return to work, and will have to give a full statement to the British Transport Police as well. These days the driver does not, afaik, have to attend the Coroner's Court, thankfully, as it was often said this could be more traumatic than the actual fatality itself, especially if the family of the bereaved decided to try and blame the driver for "not swerving" or "being distracted" or any number of things.

EDITED TO ADD: I forgot to add that the effect of having a fatality on the driver varies widely, nobody knows how they will react until it happens. I know of three drivers who have had over SEVEN fatalities in their career, and are still driving, but also of another who after one fatality never drove again. Largely that comes down to the circumstances: in the latter driver's case, it was two young children who were innocently playing on the track having been told it was fine by their step-parents, who were nearby sunbathing.
Thanks for taking the time to give such an expansive response, and a very good one, in the case of the drivers and guards if im right, theyre not to leave the cab at all until emergency services are on scene? Who would provide ( in a situation where the person under is still alive) a situation update ?
 

dk1

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Thanks for taking the time to give such an expansive response, and a very good one, in the case of the drivers and guards if im right, theyre not to leave the cab at all until emergency services are on scene? Who would provide ( in a situation where the person under is still alive) a situation update ?
I have left the cab after a fatality to use the SPT as in a poor coverage area & the GSMR kept cutting out. Remained line side to chat to the guard hanging out of the carriage window. Signaller had my mobile number.
 

skyhigh

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I'm fairly sure that's not correct.
It's not correct. Occasionally the driver will be aware of striking 'something' but not what it was, and be asked to inspect their train to see if there's any damage or sign what it was they hit. Again on the other hand, I've been involved in an incident where the driver was sure he'd hit someone, but turned out it was just a very near miss and the train hadn't actually hit them. There's no rule saying you can't leave the cab.
 

43066

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Today while waiting for a train at kings norton (Cross city line) a passenger was hit by a service @ selly oak. The reason of this post is because its a poignant part of the rail industry. And if posts like this aren't allowed then remove it and it will be understood, but I looked on the Internet and saw nothing much, whats proccedures by train crew, station staff as well as on scene by for example by EMT's.

If you can add your two cents it will be appreciated. TIA

(Sorry in advanced if it a touchy/ sensitive topic.)

@seagull has covered things pretty well.

Worth noting that the locations/details of fatalities tend not to be widely reported. This is deliberate, and is to reduce the risk of “copycat” incidents at the same location.
 

Highlandspring

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Thanks for taking the time to give such an expansive response, and a very good one, in the case of the drivers and guards if im right, theyre not to leave the cab at all until emergency services are on scene? Who would provide ( in a situation where the person under is still alive) a situation update ?
As mentioned in other replies above there is nothing to prevent the traincrew leaving the train but when a person struck is reported (via the signaller) to Network Rail operations control, a Mobile Operations Manager will immediately be tasked to attend the scene and act as 'Rail Incident Officer'. The RIO is the liaison between the rail industry and the emergency services and is responsible for managing the scene to coordinate all the activities to get body removed and restore normal working as quickly as possible. All communication between site and control goes through the RIO. A few areas of the country have Emergency Intervention Units which places the Network Rail MOM (actually a separate but similar grade termed 'Mobile Incident Officer' or MIO) in a British Transport Police vehicle so they can respond on blue lights and sirens.
 

seagull

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Forensic recovery/scenes of crime is only required if the incident is categorised as unexplained or suspicious and this categorisation is based on the driver's statement to the British Transport Police fatality hotline. The driver is always requested to contact the hotline to allow categorisation to take place. If the fatality is classed as a non-suspicious deliberate act then the body recovery can start immediately.

Ah, I didn't know that, you learn something every day. Thanks!

Thanks for taking the time to give such an expansive response, and a very good one, in the case of the drivers and guards if im right, theyre not to leave the cab at all until emergency services are on scene? Who would provide ( in a situation where the person under is still alive) a situation update ?

Thanks, and as others here have already noted, there's no rule to say you cannot leave the cab, but obviously many prefer not to if they're certain that they have indeed struck a person. There are ways one can sometimes be sure about this, which I won't elaborate on...
 

Eccles1983

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I left my cab. I wasn't certain that I killed them and was hoping I clipped them.

Tried to check the front of the train, couldnt see much so went walking down the track.

I found the body after a short walk. No rule prevents this, and I'd feel terrible if I clipped someone who was lay injured and didn't check.
 

Surreytraveller

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Afterwards the unit involved has to be specially cleaned, which is only done at certain depots, and quite often will need damage repairing
 

AlphaHotel

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@seagull has covered things pretty well.

Worth noting that the locations/details of fatalities tend not to be widely reported. This is deliberate, and is to reduce the risk of “copycat” incidents at the same location.
Had I known that I would have left that information out. My mistake.
I left my cab. I wasn't certain that I killed them and was hoping I clipped them.

Tried to check the front of the train, couldnt see much so went walking down the track.

I found the body after a short walk. No rule prevents this, and I'd feel terrible if I clipped someone who was lay injured and didn't check.
I would've thought for the drivers mental state that leaving the cab would effect them even more, i mean It would make sense if they had already been shook up from the initial incident that they wouldn't but as you said you got out and checked as you was in a mental state capable to do that.
Afterwards the unit involved has to be specially cleaned, which is only done at certain depots, and quite often will need damage repairing
So they'd clean it quickly before it moved or will it not be cleaned until the depot, maybe a hose down or something?


^ a link i found for other members to follow if they want a more broad picture

Interesting, thanks all for your comments it puts it all into prospective and shows the more non pleasant side of things that touch wood most won't have to face.

any other comments welcome!
 

LowLevel

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It's horses for courses. Different things affect people in different ways. One of the people I look up to the most on the job is an old hand driver who was a BR traction inspector. He is hard as nails and I've never seen anything phase him. He just gets on with it.

He hit a girl on a foot crossing a few years ago and left his guard (also an old hard former driver) in charge of the train while he went back with the first aid box to see what he could do and he ended up saving her life by delivering first aid.

I'm a guard. If you're sure the situation is final there is little to gain by going back. If there was any chance they'd survived though I'd be out there to try and help them.

As it happens OP, the person in your described initial incident also survived, albeit badly injured.
 

zwk500

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So they'd clean it quickly before it moved or will it not be cleaned until the depot, maybe a hose down or something?
It depends on exactly what's happened, but usually (when released by the police, if needed) it will be cleaned and disinfected on the outside at the site so it can be run through stations without causing distress and then taken out of service to a depot for a more thorough clean and inspection
 

43066

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Ah, I didn't know that, you learn something every day. Thanks!

Thanks, and as others here have already noted, there's no rule to say you cannot leave the cab, but obviously many prefer not to if they're certain that they have indeed struck a person. There are ways one can sometimes be sure about this, which I won't elaborate on...

I think it’s also right to say there’s no requirement to go back and look. Quite understandably some drivers may not wish to and it’s left to the discretion of the individual.

Coincidentally I’m sorry to say I also know a driver who has had seven - ex Northern, now based at a depot in the East Midlands. Could well be the same person.

Had I known that I would have left that information out. My mistake.

No big deal on here I wouldn’t have thought - I meant more that newspapers and the media limit their coverage which is probably why you couldn’t find much online.
 
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TRAX

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As touchy as this subject is, I find very important that we can talk about it like that as it is an important and interesting subject, in many ways, for a lot of people involved in the railways, even non-employees. It raises awareness on this delicate topic, and learning something about it from people in the know can be interesting and very humbling.
 

43066

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As touchy as this subject is, I find very important that we can talk about it like that as it is an important and interesting subject, in many ways, for a lot of people involved in the railways, even non-employees. It raises awareness on this delicate topic, and learning something about it from people in the know can be interesting and very humbling.

I couldn’t agree more.
 

dctraindriver

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Thanks for taking the time to give such an expansive response, and a very good one, in the case of the drivers and guards if im right, theyre not to leave the cab at all until emergency services are on scene? Who would provide ( in a situation where the person under is still alive) a situation update ?
No. There’s been occasions where the person who has died has come through the front gangway of the train into the cab. I’m sure you can imagine the stress that would cause if told to remain in the cab?
 

dk1

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One of mine was extremely messy as most of the body had to be removed from the front. It was supposed to go straight onto the depot to shield the aftermath from the public. Unfortunately the direct route was occupied so went via the station & was clearly seen by several passing trains before getting moved again.
 

MML-Ben

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This thread is very interesting (not in a morbid way), it's a subject I've never really thought about before. Unfortunately a work colleague ended his life this way back in 2019, he just left work at lunch time and we found out the following day.

It goes without saying it's something which effects everyone involved.

What else can Network Rail and TOC do to prevent such things? It's not like you can place suicide prevention gates (not sure if that's the correct name) at platforms given different train lengths, door locations and stopping points. Are stations "hot spots" as there is only so much which can be done to prevent it? I guess rural places along the line would be preferred but it may mean climbing a fence which may put people off?
 

dk1

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What else can Network Rail and TOC do to prevent such things? It's not like you can place suicide prevention gates (not sure if that's the correct name) at platforms given different train lengths, door locations and stopping points. Are stations "hot spots" as there is only so much which can be done to prevent it? I guess rural places along the line would be preferred but it may mean climbing a fence which may put people off?
They would simply go to a level crossing sadly.
 

TRAX

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This thread is very interesting (not in a morbid way), it's a subject I've never really thought about before. Unfortunately a work colleague ended his life this way back in 2019, he just left work at lunch time and we found out the following day.

It goes without saying it's something which effects everyone involved.

What else can Network Rail and TOC do to prevent such things? It's not like you can place suicide prevention gates (not sure if that's the correct name) at platforms given different train lengths, door locations and stopping points. Are stations "hot spots" as there is only so much which can be done to prevent it? I guess rural places along the line would be preferred but it may mean climbing a fence which may put people off?

The thing is, you can try all the things you want to prevent suicides at some locations and hotspots, a desperately motivated suicidal individual will always have his way one way or the other, somewhere else or not.
 

zwk500

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What else can Network Rail and TOC do to prevent such things? It's not like you can place suicide prevention gates (not sure if that's the correct name) at platforms given different train lengths, door locations and stopping points. Are stations "hot spots" as there is only so much which can be done to prevent it? I guess rural places along the line would be preferred but it may mean climbing a fence which may put people off?
The best thing that can be done is to train people to be aware of the signs of mental health struggles. NR is certainly making a big push with the Samaritans, I guess TOCs are also part of it. Obviously it needs to start further back than the platform, but every intervention can save a life. Putting in physical obstacles is more likely to delay rather than deter somebody who's in such a desperate situation. But stopping to engage with them can change their mind.
 

TRAX

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The best thing that can be done is to train people to be aware of the signs of mental health struggles. NR is certainly making a big push with the Samaritans, I guess TOCs are also part of it. Obviously it needs to start further back than the platform, but every intervention can save a life. Putting in physical obstacles is more likely to delay rather than deter somebody who's in such a desperate situation. But stopping to engage with them can change their mind.

This. Preventing them from "doing it" is one thing, but enabling them to stop thinking about the act is much more important.
Mental health has never been taken seriously enough, unfortunately.
 

zwk500

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This. Preventing them from "doing it" is one thing, but enabling them to stop thinking about the act is much more important.
Mental health has never been taken seriously enough, unfortunately.
Totally agree.
 

Highlandspring

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One of mine was extremely messy as most of the body had to be removed from the front. It was supposed to go straight onto the depot to shield the aftermath from the public. Unfortunately the direct route was occupied so went via the station & was clearly seen by several passing trains before getting moved again.

Sometimes it’s very difficult to move a train with obvious frontal damage to the depot without passing through stations etc.. The situation is made harder because there seems to have been a national change of policy in the fire service, as they won’t accept requests to wash trains following fatalities any more so you are really limited as to how much cleaning can be achieved on site. Not that there always needs to be a clean up - a percentage of fatalities leave an almost undamaged train and a virtually intact body. The grimmest ones are those next to busy streets or at overbridges, where members of the public inevitably come to watch what’s going on no matter how much the police try to move them on.

The real heros in all this are the BTP officers trained in ’complex body recovery‘ who get involved in removing bodies or body parts that are stuck in, on or under the train. That‘s a nasty job.
 

dk1

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The real heros in all this are the BTP officers trained in ’complex body recovery‘ who get involved in removing bodies or body parts that are stuck in, on or under the train. That‘s a nasty job.
Totally agree. I'm gagging at pigeon hanging off my windscreen wiper o_O No way could I do their job & that's before the smell.
 

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