Blue lights which flash when the train doors of Heathrow Express open on Platform 6 at Paddington are being switched during Friday 8 December 2017, as part of a new measure to help passengers mind the gap and improve train and platform safety.
The challenge of preventing passengers and staff from tripping into the gap between the train and the platform (otherwise known as step board incidents) exist at many railway stations across the UK, and is one of the highest causes of accidents, but this is the first time blue lights have been installed at a national rail station.
To work alongside the blue lights, which are also in place at Baker Street Underground Station, Heathrow Express and Network Rail have installed eye-catching footprint vinyl's with ‘mind your step’ warning messages.
The lights and vinyls follow an earlier innovation by Heathrow Express, who installed the first UK gap fillers at their Heathrow platforms in 2015. These comprise rubber brushes fixed in strips to the side of the platform and have proved to be enormously effective, reducing the number of incidents by 85%.
Unfortunately, these could not be used at the Victorian curved platforms at Paddington. Working together, Network Rail and Heathrow Express have devised this new two-pronged solution, which have been implemented by Podtrack. Network Rail have supported this safety innovation by waiving the usual charge applied to work carried out by third parties.
Fraser Brown, Director of Heathrow Express said: “Ensuring that our passengers get to their destination safely and as quickly as possible is our key aim and the flashing blue lights together with the footprint vinyls at the curved end of Platform 6 at Paddington, will reduce accidents by providing a visual reminder to passengers and staff to be mindful of their step.”
Mark Langman, Route Managing Director at Network Rail, said: “Our focus on safety is relentless. This is another example of how we are striving to be even better. The blue flashing lights with the footprint vinyls at the curved end of Platform 6 at London Paddington will help passengers to safely get to and from the train and reduce the likelihood of accidents.”