HomeHSEQLessons learnt from the King's Cross fire

Lessons learnt from the King’s Cross fire

Tomorrow marks the 30th anniversary of the King’s Cross fire.

On the evening of November 18, 1987, 31 people lost their lives and around 100 were left injured when a devastating fire broke out on a wooden escalator at King’s Cross underground station.

Decades after the tragedy, and following close work with authorities and the London Fire Brigade, many lessons have been learnt and recommendations implemented from the Fennell report by the underground transport system.

London Underground’s managing director Mark Wild said: “It is important that we take the time to remember those who lost their lives in this terrible event and the impact it had on their families, loved ones and friends.”

He added: “When it comes to safety standards, the emphasis on training and prevention as well as liaison with the emergency services, London Underground is simply a different place in 2017  to what it was in 1987. Safety is our top priority and is embedded in the organisation from executive management to the driver’s cab.”

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Since the fire, a number of changes have been made, including:

  • Smoking on Tube trains was banned before the fire but after the fire smoking anywhere on the London Underground network was also banned
  • The London Fire Brigade (LFB) is now called whenever a station fire alarm is triggered and the station closed. It can only be re-opened once LFB has investigated and given the all clear
  • Between 1989 and 1996, 108 Tube stations were improved and upgraded to ensure they met the recommendations made in the Fennell Report, including the removal of flammable material and the installation of fire detection systems
  • Embedding a safety first culture in London Underground management administration and operations
  • A much closer and continuous relationship between London Underground and Her Majesty’s Railway Inspectorate was established, resulting in an increased in the number of dedicated inspectors.

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