Inquiry launched into how partially sighted man stepped into train’s path

Safety investigators have launched an inquiry into the death of a visually impaired man struck by a train after falling from a station platform.

According to the Rail Accident Investigation Branch, the platform was not equipped with a tactile surface, a safety feature designed to warn people with poor vision when they are approaching the edge.

The incident occurred at a Southeastern commuter station, Eden Park, near Bromley, on the border of south-east London and Kent.

The RAIB said the unnamed man was struck almost immediately after falling from the platform just after 7pm on the evening of 26 February. Although paramedics were called, he died at the scene.

The train that struck him was travelling to London Charing Cross from Kent. Witnesses told reporters at the time that he may have been confused by the sound of a train arriving at an adjacent platform, and mistakenly walked into the path of the train on his platform before it had stopped.

They said the train on the opposite platform had arrived moments before, and had sounded signals that its doors were opening, possibly leading the man to believe his train was ready to board.

The inquiry will attempt to identify the sequence of events leading up to the accident, and will look into whether tactile surfaces could have helped prevent it. The safety features are widespread on platforms but not mandatory.

A spokesman for Southeastern and Network Rail said: “We are fully co-operating with the RAIB investigation regarding the death of a man at Eden Park station on February 26, and we appreciate the efforts of all the emergency services and our staff who attended this tragic incident. Our thoughts remain with his loved ones.”

The number of passenger fatalities on Britain’s railways rose in 2018-19 to 17, the highest in 10 years, although no passenger has been killed in a train accident since 2007.