A mother has saved her child from falling through the open floor of a toilet compartment on a train on the South Devon Railway.
The train from Totnes Riverside to Buckfastleigh had just passed Staverton on 22 June 2017 when the pair opened the door of the lavatory compartment on the fourth carriage. They found that the floor was missing, exposing the wheels below.
The mother managed to catch hold of her child and stop him falling. The small boy is reported to have suffered minor bruising while both were in shock.
The passenger reported the incident to the guard of the train, and the railway took action to secure the lavatory door. The incident was reported to the Rail Accident Investigation Branch, RAIB, three days later on 25 June.
The carriage had been out for repairs to its brakes and the toilet floor was removed to allow the work to take place. The floor was not replaced afterwards and staff had put a notice on the toilet and tried to secure the door but this did not work.
The RAIB will investigate:
- the events leading up to the incident,
- he actions taken to return the carriage to service
- the adequacy and suitability of the measures to secure the door
- the railway’s safety management system
- the arrangements for managing the competence and fitness of the staff of the carriage and wagon department
- the systems in place for assuring the safety of rolling stock in service
The Rail Accident Investigation Branch will publish its findings and any safety recommendations on its website.
The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) is also investigating.
South Devon Railway has issued the following statement:
He goes on to say that some of the trains are more than 60 years old and require considerable maintenance efforts to keep them in order, explaining why the floor of the toilet compartment was removed.