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Thursday 12th
posted by Will Stone in Britain

‘Foolproof’ system fails, injuring woman who got her hand stuck in door

THIS is the shocking image of a woman who narrowly avoided “catastrophe” after being trapped in a driver-only train door and dragged 60 feet down the platform.

The woman, who has not been identified, suffered severe bruising and “injuries consistent with falling onto concrete” following the incident at Hayes & Harlington station on July 25 last year.

Highbury Corner magistrates’ court released the image on Monday when driver Stephen Murdoch appeared on charges of endangering the safety of a person on the railway through wilful omission or neglect.

Sara Ashkboos of the Crown Prosecution Service told the court that the 60-year-old got her hand stuck after running for the train.

“The victim was stuck in this door. As a result, she was pulled along, running with the train, while her hand was trapped. “She subsequently managed to free her hand and fell over quite abruptly.”

However train drivers’ union Aslef, of which Mr Murdoch is not a member, said the incident highlights the dangers of driver-only operation (DOO).

Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan said: “This sad case shows that what we have been saying is right and what the company is saying is completely wrong. Southern says DOO is safe. It isn’t.

“Southern says the traction interlocking system, which is supposed to prevent a train leaving the station if something — such as a bag, briefcase, shopping bag, wheelchair, child’s buggy, or, as here, the hand or arm of a passenger trying to get on or off the train — is trapped in the carriage doors, always works.

“It is, the company says, a failsafe system. This picture shows it isn’t.

“This is the danger, for every passenger, of DOO. And that is why we need a guard on every train, to check the doors, and passengers are safe, before the train leaves the station.”

Following the incident the Rail Accident Investigation Branch warned that the technology allegedly used to make DOO safe can no longer be relied on.

Aslef drivers will conclude their three-day walkout against the imposition of driver-only trains on Southern today.

Mr Murdoch is due to appear at Blackfriars Crown Court next month after the magistrate declined jurisdiction.