Tube Scarf Scare

23 October 2014, 18:25 | Updated: 23 October 2014, 18:29

Holborn Station

Tube bosses have been asked to make safety changes after a woman was dragged along a platform when her scarf got caught in a train's doors.

A member of Underground staff caught her at Holborn station in February 2014, releasing her scarf which then got pulled by the train into the Piccadilly Line tunnel.

A rail accident report says the train driver was unaware that the woollen knitted scarf the passenger was wearing around her neck was trapped as the train started to move.

The woman was unable to pull the scarf free as the train began to move and the member of staff on duty did not alert the driver to the situation, the report from the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) said.

The woman, who had been attempting to board the train, was dragged about 10 metres along the platform. The staff member tried to help by catching hold of her and she fell to the ground.

This resulted in the scarf being forcibly removed from her neck and carried into the tunnel by the train.

The RAIB report said: "The passenger suffered injuries to her neck and back, but the actions of the member of staff may have saved her from being more badly hurt."

The RAIB said the driver had been unable to see what was happening on the platform after the train had begun to move.

The report added that the role of the station assistant who came to the passenger's aid involved the safe despatch of trains but that the equipment and procedures associated with the role do not enable such assistants to intervene effectively in an emergency.

The incident occurred at about 7pm on February 3 this year.

The RAIB said that  the last fatal accident of this type on the Underground system, on October 21 1997, had occurred at the same location in similar circumstances and involved the same type of train.

In the 1997 incident a nine-year-old boy caught his anorak in a closing Tube train door and was dragged along the platform and under the train.

However, the report into this year's incident said: "There do not appear to be any factors associated with the location that could create any link between the 1997 and 2014 accidents."

On the 2014 incident, the RAIB made a recommendation to London Underground "covering possible improvements to the means available to staff to stop trains from departing if an emergency occurs during the train despatch process".

Mick Cash, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, said: "The fact that the RAIB have praised the member of staff is just another in a long line of concrete examples that reinforce our case for the retention and expansion of staffing levels on the platforms and stations across London Underground."

Another RAIB report just published said that during the start of the evening rush-hour, concrete cladding fell from a bridge spanning Denmark Hill station in south London, with most of the debris landing on the station's platform 1.

The fallen concrete was reported by two train drivers and train services were stopped on the line closest to the fallen concrete.

No one was struck and there was no damage to trains in the incident on  August 1 2013, but train services were disrupted for the rest of the day while emergency repairs were carried out..

The report said the concrete cladding was added to the bridge structure in about 1910 and fell because of gradual deterioration of the fixing arrangements.

It said: "Deterioration of the cladding fixing arrangements had been reported to Network Rail (NR) over a period of at least four years but the resulting actions taken by NR and its works contractor were inadequate."

On the February 2104 Tube incident, Nigel Holness, operations director for the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines, said: "The safety of customers and staff is our top priority and we do all we can to ensure customers can travel safely at all times.

"The quick thinking of our staff during this incident prevented further injury to the customer, and all of our safety procedures and warnings were carried out as normal before the train moved away from the platform.

"Thankfully, incidents of this nature are extremely rare on our network and the Tube is one of the safest railways in the world following heavy investment in safety improvements, and we are constantly seeking to further improve our excellent safety record.

"We have fully assisted the RAIB in their investigation, as well as carrying out our own, and we will fully consider their recommendation."