Govia Thameslink fined £1m over Gatwick Express window death Watch

MrDystopia
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A rail firm has been fined £1m after a man died leaning out of a train window.

Simon Brown, 24, was killed when he hit his head on a steel gantry on the side of the track while on the Gatwick Express in London in August 2016.

In May, Govia Thameslink Railway admitted a health and safety breach because a sign saying not to lean out was not displayed clearly enough.

The rail regulator has written to firms demanding "immediate action" over trains with these types of windows. Judge Jeffrey Pegden QC, at Southwark Crown Court, said while there was a warning sticker on the door, it was "jumbled" around other notices.

"The signage around the window was confusing," he said, adding no risk assessment of the windows had been carried out.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-49016151

An interesting one that I've heard both sides arguments being made (that being GTR should've been fined or they shouldn't have be fined). They admitted guilt at the earliest possibility, but what do you think about the story?
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barnetlad
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Ultimately the passengers or the taxpayers will probably pay given the nature of rail franchising.
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Andrew97
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Obviously condolences to all involved, however I dislike this precedent. It leads to a Nanny State. It should be bleedingly obvious not to lean out a train window. A sign is not needed.
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Everglow
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It's kind of astonishing that because a label saying not to stick your head out of a moving train's window wasn't clear enough, this rail operator can be fined £1m. If a grown adult really needs a label to tell them not to stick their head out of a moving train's window, I think that says a lot more about the person than it does about the responsibility of the rail operator.
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nutz99
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What next, suing Argos because the knives you bought did not warn you that stabbing yourself could hurt. Notices on tennis balls - "Do not swallow". Notices on bicycle pump - "Not to be put up rectum".

The judges in this country are all senile!
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Fullofsurprises
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Most modern trains don't permit leaning out of the windows for this very reason. Does the fine reflect the fact that Govia should have got rid of the old trains by now?
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Napp
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(Original post by Fullofsurprises)
Most modern trains don't permit leaning out of the windows for this very reason. Does the fine reflect the fact that Govia should have got rid of the old trains by now?
To be honest i thought they had ages ago... whenever i got the train to gatwick it didnt have the option to open a window to stick your head out and earn a darwin award - unlike FGW who have only just gotten rid of theirs. With that being said it was quite nice having a window you could open like that :rolleyes:
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by Fullofsurprises)
Most modern trains don't permit leaning out of the windows for this very reason. Does the fine reflect the fact that Govia should have got rid of the old trains by now?
These trains were withdrawn in 2017. They are currently being refurbished prior to reintroduction on a new route with new motors. The reintroduction has been delayed due to an unrelated issue with door safety.

Each of these trains had a single publicly accessible opening window opposite the guard’s compartment, presumably so the guard could lean out along the opposite side of the train to his compartment. The door which contained the window was locked and not available for passenger use so this was not a case of the passenger standing at a door he intended to open. Presumably, in the refurbishment, the opening window will have gone.

The warning notice, reported by the press, is a bit of an irrelevance. This was a train buff, no doubt selecting the only window he could lean out of, in order to indulge his hobby. There cannot really be any doubt that he knew of the risks of lineside equipment. We cannot know precisely what went wrong. Like everyone who dies doing something risky, this poor man believed that he was managing the risks. So long as there was a window this man could lean out of, he was going to lean out of it.

Most opening windows are either on Intercity 125s where you have to open the door from the outside or on charter stock. The doors on the 125s will all be replaced with automatic doors within the next year or so, some already have been.

Charter stock is more difficult. Although not all train charters are for rail enthusiasts, many are, and virtually all charters are “days out”. Moreover most of the stock is old and not air conditioned. Opening windows are necessary for ventilation. Getting rid of opening windows will significantly change the passenger experience. However, there is a very high risk of a repetition of this accident. The rail industry is very concerned about risky behaviour from rail buffs.
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ANM775
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ridiculous fine imo

If you're that brazen and stupid to lean your head out of a high speeding train then the only person to blame if you end up dead or decapitated is yourself!

Sign or not, it's basic common sense not to lean your head out.
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Napp
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(Original post by nulli tertius)
Most opening windows are either on Intercity 125s where you have to open the door from the outside or on charter stock. The doors on the 125s will all be replaced with automatic doors within the next year or so, some already have been.
I thought they were simply replacing the entire stock of those with the new Hitchachi trains? Or is that just FGW?
Shame though, those open windows were nice in summer... or on the commute when youre jammed in like a sardine and want fresh air :lol:
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Fullofsurprises
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(Original post by nulli tertius)
These trains were withdrawn in 2017. They are currently being refurbished prior to reintroduction on a new route with new motors. The reintroduction has been delayed due to an unrelated issue with door safety.

Each of these trains had a single publicly accessible opening window opposite the guard’s compartment, presumably so the guard could lean out along the opposite side of the train to his compartment. The door which contained the window was locked and not available for passenger use so this was not a case of the passenger standing at a door he intended to open. Presumably, in the refurbishment, the opening window will have gone.

The warning notice, reported by the press, is a bit of an irrelevance. This was a train buff, no doubt selecting the only window he could lean out of, in order to indulge his hobby. There cannot really be any doubt that he knew of the risks of lineside equipment. We cannot know precisely what went wrong. Like everyone who dies doing something risky, this poor man believed that he was managing the risks. So long as there was a window this man could lean out of, he was going to lean out of it.

Most opening windows are either on Intercity 125s where you have to open the door from the outside or on charter stock. The doors on the 125s will all be replaced with automatic doors within the next year or so, some already have been.

Charter stock is more difficult. Although not all train charters are for rail enthusiasts, many are, and virtually all charters are “days out”. Moreover most of the stock is old and not air conditioned. Opening windows are necessary for ventilation. Getting rid of opening windows will significantly change the passenger experience. However, there is a very high risk of a repetition of this accident. The rail industry is very concerned about risky behaviour from rail buffs.
Sounds like the fine was a nonsensical piece of theatre.

I wonder who really ends up paying a fine like this. Somewhere between the hard pressed fare payers and the taxpayer presumably. I don't suppose the directors of Govia will be affected.

The whole system of fining what are basically public bodies is ridiculous, but this kind of thing also highlights yet again how the system of rail franchises is a farce and they are in reality heavily protected public bodies that are rented out to monopolistic cabals of privileged tax-farming operators. It's so like the 18th century. Still, Rees-Mogg will feel at home when Bojo makes him Minister of Transport.
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The chap who died was supposedly a railway enthusiast, just not a very bright one.

There is another case of someone dying from doing an astonishingly stupid thing in today's news. A man decided to pitch a hammock at the foot of an unstable cliff over a beach, drove a support into the cliff and was killed when an avalanche was caused. Being so close to the cliff was stupid enough, deciding to stick around was even worse, but provoking the cliff gods was beyond belief.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/w...eath-7t2rmgt29

The wife of a holidaymaker crushed by a beach rockfall as he set up a hammock was a witness to the tragedy.

The couple were visiting the remote Stowe Cliffs at Sandymouth, near Bude, north Cornwall, when the man brought down tonnes of rock while apparently trying to set up a hammock on Tuesday. His wife was thought to be unhurt but a senior officer for HM Coastguard said that she was “extremely traumatised”.

It is understood that the couple, who have not been identified, were visiting Cornwall from their home in Hampshire. The man, who was in his fifties, was declared dead at the scene.

Yesterday a specialist fire brigade rescue team recovered his trapped body from beneath a 1.5-tonne boulder. A source involved in the operation said that the couple had been setting up a “beach camp” near a rock stack about a quarter of a mile north of the Sandymouth beach café.

“It appears the man had been trying to set up a hammock,” the officer said. “He had knocked a supporting rod into the cliff face but then, for whatever reason, the cliff collapsed. You can still see the hammock straps but it’s hard to be precise about the spot he chose. It is possible he tightened the hammock straps to the point that they somehow split the rock . . . The priority is to recover his body safely.”

An urban search and rescue unit with the Devon and Somerset fire service used heavy lifting and cutting equipment to clear huge boulders.

The location, a little more than a mile south of the GCHQ listening station at Morwenstow, is one of the most remote coastlines in Cornwall. The only access by car is down a narrow single-track road leading to the café.

Yesterday much of the beach was closed to visitors and South West Coast Path walkers were kept away from potential viewing points above the recovery operation. Heather Rugeley, who was visiting Sandymouth from Woodford Green, northeast London, said: “We know the cliffs around here can be unstable. The day before we’d planned to visit a cave near Hartland but decided against it when we heard a rockfall near by.”

A spokeswoman for the National Trust, which owns Sandymouth, said that it had been a difficult situation for the rescue teams to manage.
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-Eirlys-
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24 year old men need signs to tell them how to behave using common sense? :curious: The issue is the man for putting his head out of a moving train, not the rail company. This doesn't make sense at all.
(Original post by MrDystopia)
A rail firm has been fined £1m after a man died leaning out of a train window.

Simon Brown, 24, was killed when he hit his head on a steel gantry on the side of the track while on the Gatwick Express in London in August 2016.

In May, Govia Thameslink Railway admitted a health and safety breach because a sign saying not to lean out was not displayed clearly enough.

The rail regulator has written to firms demanding "immediate action" over trains with these types of windows. Judge Jeffrey Pegden QC, at Southwark Crown Court, said while there was a warning sticker on the door, it was "jumbled" around other notices.

"The signage around the window was confusing," he said, adding no risk assessment of the windows had been carried out.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-49016151

An interesting one that I've heard both sides arguments being made (that being GTR should've been fined or they shouldn't have be fined). They admitted guilt at the earliest possibility, but what do you think about the story?
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S1elyak1
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The company shouldn't be fined, it's common sense not to stick your head out of a window on a moving train. I feel sorry for the family members of the deceased but surely there isn't a need for a sign to be placed.
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by Napp)
I thought they were simply replacing the entire stock of those with the new Hitchachi trains? Or is that just FGW?
Shame though, those open windows were nice in summer... or on the commute when youre jammed in like a sardine and want fresh air :lol:
Great Western are running short HST 125 sets between Wales and Cornwall. Scotrail have just introduced short sets north of the Forth-Clyde corridor. East Midland Trains will be running full size sets for the foreseeable future due to the cancellation of electrification plans.

LNER and Cross Country are still using HST 125s. LNER will replace theirs with Hitachi trains but I don’t think there are any plans for Cross Country to do so.

Spare sets are likely to be used by other train companies to boost capacity for peak services on routes normally operated by short-length DMU stock. For example East Midlands Trains runs an HST 125 between Derby and Skegness on summer Saturdays. At the moment both Transport for Wales and Greater Anglia hire in very old coaching stock from charter companies for high demand local services and HSTs are likely to prove more attractive.

Finally, the Great Central Railway at Ruddington in Nottinghamshire operates a one-ended HST with another locomotive on the other end on its preserved line to Loughborough and is looking to acquire another HST for the other end when one becomes available.
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