A WOMAN was dragged along a South Tyneside Metro station platform when her arm became trapped between faulty train doors.
The commuter had thrown her arm between the doors after making a late bid to board the train at Jarrow Station, revealed a just-released report into the incident from the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB).
But due to a system fault, the doors did not open as usual, forcing the woman to run with the train at platform two – as it gathered speed.
Quick-thinking passengers aboa-rd pressed emergency door release buttons from within the carriage to release the doors, with the woman falling to the ground but avoiding serious injury.
The woman left the station without speaking to staff and failed to report the incident, which took place at 9.55am on April 12, 2012, with her identification not known.
The Metro driver initially feared someone was stuck under the train when he spoke to passengers.
The report declared the woman’s situation could have been much worse were it not for the swift actions of passengers onboard.
An RAIB investigation found the door fault had disabled the obstruction detection system, preventing the door from re-opening, and also enabled the driver to release the train brakes and apply power.
The woman was dragged with the train for 12 metres, with the driver not noticing the trapped passenger.
A series of tests were carried out by RAIB and DB Regio Tyne and Wear, which operates trains on behalf of Metro owners Nexus, to determine the cause of the malfunction.
It was found a microswitch on the door remained in a depressed position, meaning doors could not release when obstructed.
It was concluded dirt and an oily residue found in the switch was ‘abnormal’ and had caused the door not to release during the incident.
The dirt may have entered the switch due to a joint between the actuator shaft and actuator of the door being slightly loose.
The report states: “The contamination was abnormal and is the likely cause of the switch sticking.
“There are two possible paths for the contamination to enter, the switch; the clearance between the actuator shaft and switch body into which the shaft can pull in contaminants from outside as it slides; and the joint between the actuator shaft and actuator, which was noted to be slightly loose and around which a ring of detritus had accumulated.”
The report found there was six seconds between the woman arriving on the platform and the train departing, and during that time she should have been visible.
The driver, of 12 years’ experience, could not explain why he did not see her as he made his final checks before leaving the station.
The report stated reasons for the failure could include the driver not doing final checks as he thought he had, due to a lapse in concentration or tiredness, his view being obscured, or he may have done his checks, but not seen her.
This is cited as a possible case of the driver looking, but not seeing, often occurring when people carry out repetitive tasks regularly.