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Call for inquiry after train door incident

By This is Gloucestershire  |  Posted: December 30, 2009

Andrew Gravells

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A politician is demanding an inquiry after a man was almost thrown from a train when the door flew open mid-journey in the Cotswolds.

Gloucester councillor Andrew Gravells was travelling to the city from London on a First Great Western service this month when a door on one of the carriages opened.

The incident happened as the train travelled between Kemble station, near Cirencester, and the station in Stroud.

Mr Gravells said a young passenger tried to get it closed again and was almost thrown from the train as it went through a tunnel.

He said: "If anyone had been stood by the door when it flew open they wouldn't have had a chance of surviving, especially while the train was travelling through the tunnel.

"There should be a trip device in place to stop trains from leaving a station if the door isn't securely locked.

"Luckily nobody was injured this time but if the train had been packed it could have been a different, tragic story."

Mr Gravells said he believed the man in question, who had a lucky escape when he tried to close the door, was called Noel.

He added that after the train stopped and the door was closed again, the driver of the train was forced to walk through a tunnel to get it moving.

He said: "Because the train driver couldn't make contact with the signal operators, he had to leave the train and walk to the end of the tunnel to get the signals altered."

Meanwhile, rail bosses have said they will launch an investigation.

A First Great Western spokesman confirmed the door was left open on the service on December 9.

He said: "This should never have happened and, although no one was injured, we are treating the matter very seriously.

"We've reported the incident to the Office of Rail Regulation and the Rail Accident Investigation Branch.

"When we were alerted to the incident the train was stopped immediately and the door was locked out of use."

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    m burnitt, Plymouth  |  January 14 2010, 8:36PM

    Of course if the passengers closed the doors behind them like the signs ask them too this could be avoided, luckily the staff get it right 99.9% of the time but not on this occasion unfortunately. Hopefully lessons will be learned.

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    WML, Stroud  |  December 30 2009, 7:13PM

    I was a frequent train traveller as a child and Dad always checked that the doors were properly closed. An elementary precaution.

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    Thomas, 'tank' Chuffer  |  December 30 2009, 6:48PM

    Choo choo mr fat controller-the doors are open-poop poop-harumph!!

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    TeaInEveshamRoad, Cheltenham  |  December 30 2009, 4:51PM

    Firstly as a regular user of this route I CAN confirm the trains are not modern and they DO have the original slam doors. This shouldn't be a problem providing the train manager does his job properly and physically checks all the doors. Clearly this hadn't been done on this occasion. In terms of reliability these doors have a retrofitted selective locking system (providing the doors are shut properly!) Automatic doors improve efficiency at the station but can often 'play up.' Communication to the signaller - the train was in a tunnel and there would have been no signal for any sort of mobile communication device. The only tunnel between Kemble and Stroud is Sapperton short and long tunnel - the latter is 1 mile 100 yards long. It has been common practice since Victorian times to protect the line manually if anything happens to the train and the signalman cannot be easily reached. I guess these days it's a case of finding a signal! Fortunately these events are rare, and emergency stop plungers are fitted generously throughout the train should an exceptional event such as this happen.

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    Denzil, Glos  |  December 30 2009, 1:36PM

    Modern trains between Swindon & Gloucester?? You must be having a laugh! If our noble Councillor was so concerned why on earth did he not pull the emergency handle immediately instead of standing by and watch a young man risk his life? Typical councillor, moan but don't actually do anything!

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    Andrew Gravells, Gloucester  |  December 30 2009, 1:05PM

    I asked them about the lack of communication in the tunnel too.....their reply will be interesting...since then I never stand by one of their doors till the train is 101% stopped....

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    John, Glos City  |  December 30 2009, 12:43PM

    Quite apart from the probability that this young man could have lost his life or at best been severely injured - The next most disturbing event we should consider is why the train driver couldn't make contact with the signal operators and had to leave the train and walk to the end of the tunnel to get the signals altered. As a person who has spent most of my life in the coach and bus industry I am shocked to discover such poorly equipped trains are still operating. Train operators have been quick to bundle up a wealth of profits now what have they got to say for themselves? Good Job we have local politicians like Andrew Gravells calibre and competence to now call these people to account for their actions. Expect nothing of the Dft in Marsham Street London. Like the Whitehall Mandarins they have been too busy stuffing their pockets and the train operators with lots of money to be thinking about the needs of consumers. Do a good Job Andrew ¿ Roast Them and boil them

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    FJ, Glos  |  December 30 2009, 10:38AM

    They obviously are still using slam doors, and things like this happen. If they can easily be opened and shut by passengers, they can easily be opened and shut accidentally. They are also slower, especially at busy stations, because a conductor must walk down the length of the train closing doors which have been left open, whereas electronic doors all can be closed by the driver hitting a switch. In my opinion, the modern technology is better.

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    Ivana Adnams, Cheltenham  |  December 30 2009, 10:27AM

    We coped very well for decades using manual doors that could easily be opened and shut by passengers. Now we have electronic automatic doors which can't be manually operated. Maybe it would be a better approach to return to those manual doors rather than yet more complex technology that could go wrong.

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    FJ, Glos  |  December 30 2009, 10:19AM

    Possibly because they are still using 1970s rolling stock with manual "slam doors", rather than more modern stock with electronic sliding doors, which would have made an incident like this virtually impossible.