Railway accident waiting to happen

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Regarding this Tuesday’s accident (thankfully, not fatal) at Thorne South Railway Station, I consider this was made more likely due to a combination of recent alterations.

Firstly, a longer more gentle approach to the Scunthorpe-bound platform was added early last year, an improvement for wheelchair/elderly users.

Then, later last year, the original steeper and shorter slope to both platforms was suddenly closed off.

Why this has happened now when it has served as access for over 30 years since the station was re-sited is unknown. However, the combined effect is this: on hearing what you think is your train approaching, you now have around double the distance to travel from the railway boundary.

Doncaster-bound passengers need to go along half of the Scunthorpe-bound platform and down the ramp to track level and cross the tracks.

You are more likely to hurry (due to the longer distance) and are now doing this with your back to the approaching train.

Unlike with the old entrance, where you were facing the train, you cannot readily assess whether it is going to stop.

Now after coming down the platform ramp (at likely a faster pace), you only have a ‘split-second’ to make this judgement either to stop or step in front of the train that you originally assumed would be calling at the station.

In contrast, at Thorne North Station there are proposals to spend ‘many thousands’ on a similar gentle approach to the Hull-bound platform, to prevent wheelchair-users being stranded when the station is unmanned, because the crossing there is gated and only unlocked by station staff.

At least they have the luxury of a footbridge, unlike Thorne South and neither do they have anything like the number of heavy freight trains to add to the danger.

Hardly a consistent approach to safety or spending on two railway stations in the same town.

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