May 10, 2021

UK: Child almost falls through floor of moving train in Devon

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From BBC

A small boy almost fell from a moving train carriage on to the track below because the toilet floor was missing.

His mother was able to catch him before he fell when she took him to the toilet on the Totnes Riverside to Buckfastleigh train in Devon.

Investigators said the floor had been removed for repairs to the carriage’s brakes but had not been replaced.

South Devon Railway (SDR), which runs the steam train, said it is taking the investigation “extremely seriously”.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) said the 13:00 BST train was running between Staverton and Buckfastleigh on the South Devon Railway when the mother took her child to the toilet in the fourth carriage on 22 June.

Minor bruising

The train was travelling at around 20 mph (32 km/h) when they opened the door and saw the floor of the compartment was missing, exposing the carriage wheels below.

She reported the incident to the guard of the train and the door was locked.

The mother and child were left shocked and the boy suffered minor bruising.

Staff had previously placed a notice on the door and attempted to secure it to prevent it being opened, but those measures were not effective, the RAIB said.

Its investigation, which will look at the repairs to the carriage, the adequacy of the measures to secure the door and the railway’s systems for assuring the safety of rolling stock in service, will be published in due course.

An investigation has also been launched by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR).

A registered charity, SDR is a 7-mile former Great Western Railway branch line which runs steam trains and heritage rolling stock as a tourist attraction.

In a statement, SDR apologised and said: “On the day in question, something clearly went wrong with our safety control and hazard monitoring systems as evidenced by the incident having taken place – it simply should not have happened.”


The South Devon Railway has been open for 50 years

The carriage understood to contain the missing floor

SOUTH DEVON RAILWAY Image caption The mother reported the incident to the train guard

SOUTH DEVON RAILWAY Image caption The incident was reported to the Rail Accident Investigation Branch on 25 June

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