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Serco fined for DLR death


Serco has been fined £450,000 after a man died when

operators failed to stop Docklands Light Railway trains running after he fell onto the line.

Serco, which runs DLR’s day-

to-day operations on behalf of TfL, was fined £450,000 plus costs at Southwark Crown Court at the end of April after the Office of Rail Regulation referred the case. It was found that Serco had inadequate procedures in place for stopping trains in an emergency. The company had allowed

control room staff to decide whether to stop trains based partly on what they could see from CCTV images, but the CCTV system was not designed for this purpose. Robert Carter fell onto the

tracks at All Saints DLR station in April 2007 during an altercation with an acquaintance. The other person called the police and an operator in the Metropolitan Police control room reported the incident to the British Transport Police.

BTP contacted the DLR control

room where an operator examined CCTV at All Saints station, but failed to see anyone on the track and so did not stop trains from running. Shortly afterwards another control room operator saw a policeman at All Saints waving his arms above his head and pushed the emergency plunger to stop the train, but the first set of wheels hit Carter before the train had completely stopped.

He suffered serious injuries and died in hospital. ORR director of railway safety

Ian Prosser said: ‘I would like to extend my sympathies to Mr Carter’s family. ‘ORR welcomes the verdict

and today’s sentence, but his death could have been avoided if proper procedures had been implemented.’ Serco was found guilty of

breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 in failing to ensure that the public was not exposed to risks unnecessarily.

Bath Spa station lift provokes controversy over platform access

Controversy surrounds proposals for a new lift at Bath Spa station that would mean disabled people could no longer use a ramp to reach the platforms. An application has been made jointly by First Great Western, Network Rail and a developer, Multi, to create a lift serving the London-bound platform able to accommodate 10 passengers. It would entail reducing the size of an existing cafe´. Bath Spa, built by Brunel, is a grade-two listed building. Architects say the lift would blend well with a proposed new entrance and improve passenger movement between the train and bus stations. But critics say it is too small

to cope with heavy demand from luggage-laden passengers, the disabled, or tourists with cycles, who would have to transport these up-ended.

The station, which has only two platforms, is busy throughout much of the day and frequently overcrowded during rush-hour. While its ramps are said to breach the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), protesters say that because Bath Spa lies above ground level, there’s no easy exit from the station in the event of an emergency except by having ramps on both sides. Currently there is ramp access

to the platforms by taxi for the disabled and luggage-laden passengers. Removing the ramp on the up platform would allow for commercial development, where currently there is a car park. Applicants say the lift does conform to DDA standards. The plan was due to be determined by Bath and North East Somerset Council as Rail Professional was going to press.

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