A door opened on a Virgin train travelling at 109mph, nearly killing the train manager, a report published by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (PDF) has found.
The incident happened on 19 July this year, shortly after the 12:57 service left Euston bound for Glasgow. The train was approaching Wembley Central travelling at 109mph when an alarm sounded indicating a door was not secure. The Train Manger, who was asked by the driver to investigate the alarm, inadvertently opened the faulty door instead of securing it. He had to grab hold of a handrail to avoid being thrown from the train in an incident that ‘could have been fatal’.
The report also found that the procedures Virgin had given its staff were not sufficient to avoid this type incident taking place. Virgin Trains’ Chief Operating Officer, who described it as a ‘near miss’, said: "The independent RAIB report makes it clear that all involved did what they had been trained to do, and the train did what it was designed to do, and yet a door opened at speed.“
"Within hours our team, working closely with Alstom (the train manufacturer) and the RAIB, had identified the unexpected combination of circumstances that caused the door to open, and immediately changed our rules to fully prevent a repeat.”
Passengers who were on the train were initially unaware that such a dangerous incident had taken place until the train juddered to a halt. The train proceeded to Hemel Hemstead where it was taken out of service and passengers moved to another train.
By Andy Thornley. Image by JeffSB* in the Londonist Flickr pool.