‘Lack of staff’ led to Canning Town passenger trapped in train door for 45 minutes
16:28 22 September 2016
The rescue of a woman trapped in a train door at a Tube station was slowed down by lack of staff, a leaked report has revealed.
The Transport for London (TfL) paper, seen by the Recorder, states there was no-one at Canning Town station to co-ordinate an appropriate response because of “low numbers of staff being present to manage an emergency”.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union has criticised TfL’s handling of the incident, which happened on May 26, saying it “got out of control” after the passenger trapped her foot between a train and a platform.
The woman got stuck in the gap while trying to board a train at 8.21am and remained trapped for a further 45 minutes until emergency services crews finally freed her at 9.07am.
The report admits TfL staff who did repond at the scene were “unclear” as to what their role should be.
In addition, “no instruction” was given to stop the DLR dispatching passengers at Canning Town because the unstaffed control room meant “there was no central base for communications to flow in and out of”.
The 21-page report adds: “Historically these issues would not have arisen as all communication and coordination would have been via the SCRO [Station Control Room Officer] in the control room.”
It also state a “disjointed” reponse took place to helping the woman who was “not afforded any level of dignity”.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Too many jobs have been cut and what we’re left with is a Tube system that cannot properly respond to emergency situations.
“The fact it’s come from an investigation conducted by London Underground themselves speaks volumes.
“I am calling on London Underground to bring forward a planned one-year review of their new staffing arrangements on Tube stations.”
The report also found that there had been 14 incidents at Canning Town station in the previous year.
There was one further incident between May 27 and August 20 when a customer was pushed against a train.
Steve Griffiths, London Underground’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “The safety of our customers is always our top priority, and our staff were on site within seconds to help the customer.
“The emergency services were also called within minutes to resolve the situation as safely as possible.
“Thankfully, incidents of this nature are extremely rare at Canning Town and as our report makes clear, we are carrying out a full review.”