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Elizabeth line: Another passenger seriously injured



BBC Mind the gap signBBC

Ealing Broadway station has been the site of at least two serious injuries

Another passenger has contacted BBC London after being seriously injured using the Elizabeth line at Ealing Broadway in west London.

Rolf Kern, 82, had to go to hospital after he badly gashed his shin trying to board an Elizabeth line train. He says the vertical gap between the platform and the train is too high and caused his injury. He says he is now considering legal action.

It comes weeks after another passenger broke their foot on the same platform.

Transport for London (TfL) said it was “sorry” that some passengers had sustained injuries and that safety was its “number one priority”.

WARNING: This article contains an image of an injury some may find upsetting.

Rolf Kern

Rolf Kern injured himself at Ealing Broadway

Mr Kern says the gap is too high: “Normally, I take the left or right-hand side and use the handrail. But this time I happened to be in the middle and I missed the step and fell flat on the floor. I immediately realised I’d hurt myself very badly.”

“The wound was very bad. It was a two-inch gap under the knee and the skin was actually totally detached. It’s very, very serious.”

Mr Kern says the height of the step is unacceptable: “It is the sheer fact that the step is 12 to 14 inches high, which I find for a modern, new line where the government invested so much money is unacceptable.”

Injured leg

Mr Kern had to be treated in hospital

Injured leg

In February, also at Ealing Broadway station, Eric Leach stepped off an Elizabeth line train on to the platform.

Such was the force from the drop that he broke a bone in his foot. He collapsed on the platform.

Mr Leach, who also suffered bruising to his right knee, says the gap is not acceptable: “It’s a 12in gap. Mums with buggies, people with heavy luggage, elderly people, of course it’s not acceptable.”

Eric Leach is standing on a train platform in front of an Elizabeth Line Tube train. He has a moustache and a checked shirt

Eric Leach broke his foot at Ealing Broadway

He told BBC London: “It’s a scandal, someone will be seriously injured or die. It’s a death trap.”

“I was trying to get off. Other people were trying to force their way on. I was terrified looking at the gap, lost my balance and came down and fell and broke a bone in my left foot. And mashed up my right knee.

“I was on the ground for about 20 minutes. I was taken home in a taxi and a couple of days later I realised I was bad so I went to Ealing Hospital. “

Mr Leach’s story was seen worldwide with 7.9 million views on BBC London social media channels Instagram, Facebook and X.

Rules don’t apply

The Elizabeth line opened in May 2022 and cost £19bn.

The platforms at Ealing Broadway are owned by Network Rail and aren’t new. Before the introduction of Elizabeth line services, they were used by GWR trains out of London Paddington.

Safety guidance says new platforms should not have a horizontal gap larger than 27.5cm (10.8in) or a vertical gap of more than 23cm (9in).

However, Rail Safety and Standards Board rules only apply to new stations, so Ealing Broadway as an older platform doesn’t fall under the regulations. The rules don’t apply.

Platform gap

Train gap at Ealing Broadway

A TfL spokesperson said: “We are sorry that some customers have sustained injuries at Ealing Broadway station and we wish them a full and speedy recovery.

“Safety is our number one priority and while the height difference between the train and the platform at this station, which is owned by Network Rail, and all Elizabeth line stations comply with the required safety standards, we recognise that it can be larger at some older stations.

“We provide manual boarding ramps for anyone who requires them and staff are available for anyone who needs assistance.

“We also make on-train announcements reminding passengers to mind the gap when leaving the train.”

TfL continued to work with its operator, MTR-Elizabeth line, and its infrastructure provider, Network Rail, to “ensure all our stations remain safe and accessible for all our customers”, the spokesperson added.

Mr Kern hovers his foot over the gap between the Tube train and the platform, showing the size of the gap

Mr Kern shows BBC London how he injured his leg

Mr Kern is now trying to find fellow passengers who witnessed what happened, as he considers legal action. His leg is healing.

TfL says the Elizabeth line operator MTREL is in contact with Mr Kern and says it is actively investigating the incident.

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