As if it didn’t already have enough, the railway now has a new acronym – PTI. Any ideas? Here’s a clue – it’s the most dangerous area of a station and is responsible for the most fatalities. Still stumped? Here’s another clue – ‘Mind The Gap!’
PTI is the Platform Train Interface – in other words, the gap between platform edge and the train.
Statistically, there is a risk of 8.3 fatalities at stations every year. 48 per cent of them take place at the platform edge.
Passengers most at risk are females between 50 and 71 years old, and young men who are intoxicated.
To combat this problem, and reduce that risk of serious injury and death, the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) has recently launched a platform train interface strategy.
A 70-page report has been prepared on the risks and their causes. Accidents have been categorised into boarding events, alighting events, those where a train was stationary, or moving, or not even present – such as a fall onto the tracks.
Staff at stations are being briefed and the risks highlighted in a series of press adverts and posters.
Some actions are pretty obvious. Many accidents happen when passengers are running to catch a train, so shut platforms some time before departure. Others are not so clear-cut.
Work is being done to look at optimising the clearances between trains and the platform and the height of steps. Other factors include door design, provision for luggage, and dwell times.
A series of immediate, short, medium and long-term PTI risk reduction targets have been established. These stem from cross-industry workshops where the problems have been discussed in detail.
But the most obvious face of the strategy will be the publicity campaign. With the catch-phrase ‘Lend a Helping Hand’ it urges passengers and staff to be aware of the risks, to take care and to help each other, which is a good philosophy for life really.