Station and platform safety

Information and advice for passengers on station safety issues such as platform gaps and stepping distances.

The gap between the edge of the platform and train coaches varies between different stations around the railway network.

A gap that is too big can be a risk to passengers getting on and off trains. This is particularly the case for disabled and elderly passengers and people with small children and pushchairs.

Can the problem be solved?

The Department of Transport has produced guidance on Accessible train and station design for disabled people and opportunities should be taken - for example where other station improvement work is being done - to improve platforms.

Network Rail has an ongoing programme identifying problem locations and developing an action plan. This programme aims to improve the highest priority locations first.

We accept that in many cases, particularly at platforms not used very much, upgrading may take time. There needs to be priority about the risk, the extent of the defects and the number of passengers exposed to the risk. It should be noted that it may be impossible to eliminate some platform gaps because they are located on track curves.

Are there laws protecting passengers?

Under current health and safety law, railway operators should reduce the risk from gaps as far as is reasonably practicable. For existing station platforms, a judgement has to be made as to whether it would be reasonably practicable to reduce the gaps or whether the cost would be disproportionate to the level of risk.