BBC Report Highlights Ealing Broadway 'Death Trap'

Eric Leach tells how he was injured getting off an Elizabeth line train

Eric Leach on the platform at Ealing Broadway where he fell
Eric Leach on the platform at Ealing Broadway where he fell. Picture: BBC

May 7, 2024

A report on the BBC has highlighted concerns about safety at Ealing Broadway station after a man was injured getting off an Elizabeth Line train during rush hour.

Local resident Eric Leach fell while negotiating the gap between the train and the platform, breaking a bone in his left foot and bruising his right knee, last February. Although he was treated at the scene and went home in a taxi, a few days later he had to go to Ealing Hospital as the seriousness of his injuries became apparent.

He told the reporter that, while lying prone on the platform floor for around 20 minutes, he had ample time to confirm the size of the gap.

He said, "It's a 12-inch gap. Mums with buggies, people with heavy luggage, elderly people, of course it's not acceptable.

"It's a scandal, someone will be seriously injured or die. It's a death trap."

Following the incident, he learnt that he was not the only person to have fallen at the station and he made a complaint to Transport for London (TfL).

Mr Leach pointed out that there was a missed opportunity to solve the problem during the £19 billion Elizabeth line project.

A TfL spokesperson said, “We are sorry that one of our customers sustained an injury at Ealing Broadway station in February and we wish him a full and speedy recovery.

"Safety is our number one priority and, while the gap between the platform complies with the required safety standards, we recognise that some gaps between the train and platform can be larger at some older stations.

"We provide manual boarding ramps for anyone who requires assistance, the station is staffed from the first to last train for anyone who needs assistance at any of our stations, and we also make on-train announcements reminding passengers to mind the gap when leaving the train.

"We continue to work with our operator, MTR-Elizabeth line and Network Rail to ensure all our stations remain safe and accessible for all our customers."


The platforms at Ealing Broadway station were previously used by Great Western Railway services and are owned by Network Rail not TfL. Although safety guidance stipulates a horizontal gap no larger than 27.5cm (10.8in) or a vertical gap of more than 23cm (9in) this was put in place after the construction of the local station and does not apply retrospectively meaning that many stations across the capital’s transport network have this issue. There are hundreds of incidents involving platform gaps in London every year although TfL says that this represents fewer that one incident in every four million journeys and only 2% of these resulted in serious injury. TfL says that so far there have been three incidents involving gaps since the opening of the Elizabeth line.

The gap at Ealing Broadway is estimated to be 12 inches above current guidelines. Picture: BBC

The government's Office for Road and Rail says, "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."

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