There are calls for a major Tube safety investigation today after a 12-year old boy made his way onto live tracks – the third such incident involving children in the last two weeks.
The latest incident involved a 12-year-old boy who accidently stayed on board a Bakerloo Line train when it went into sidings after its final passenger stop.
At 3.53pm on Monday, the boy failed to respond to three on-board loudspeaker announcements and a flash of lights that the Bakerloo Line train was being taken out of service at Queen's Park.
When the train arrived in the sidings the boy, who rail staff said was “afraid that he done something wrong”, climbed out of the carriage connecting door, over a barrier and down onto the tracks.
As he walked by the live rail he was spotted by the alert driver who was who got him back on board and raised the alarm.
The boy told station staff that he was going to walk back along the “charcoals” - the track ballast - to the next stop, Kensal Green, where he had left his bicycle.
The incident sparked an outcry from the Tube's two train unions - Aslef and the RMT - over the way passengers are told a train is to be taken out of service and into sidings or depots.
Hundreds of passengers are being mistakenly carried into sidings when trains are taken out of service because Bakerloo Line trains are no longer physically checked they are empty before they move off.
RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “With London Mayor Boris Johnson mouthing soundbites about driverless trains and de-staffing the Tube at the Tory conference, yet again only the quick intervention of a driver prevented a 12-year-old boy, who had managed to shimmy up and over the inner car barriers and out of the train, from getting hit by a moving a train or electrocuted on the rails.
”Management have rightly called an investigation into this shocking incident but this does not go far enough for RMT safety reps. We want a meeting to review the whole de-trainment process and a return to a safe way of working.“
Platform staff used to make physical checks through the carriages that everyone has left. This was changed, due to job and finance cuts say the unions, to three on-board announcements and flashing lights.
In July Aslef ordered a ballot for industrial action among Bakerloo line drivers in protest and fearing the change of system will spread to other lines.
Steve Grant, Aslef London region secretary, said: ”The system is downright dangerous both for passengers and our staff. We are demanding the system be reversed for the protection of passengers.“
Nigel Holness, London Underground's operations director, said: ”On Monday afternoon a Bakerloo Line train terminating at Queen's Park station mistakenly took one passenger, who had not alighted despite several announcements that the train was out of service, into the train depot.
“The passenger left the train and attempted to make his way back to the station, and was escorted back by the train driver.
”Every day there are thousands of train movements to and from depots and this type of incident is very rare given the procedures that are followed and safety systems we have in place.
“However, this can happen should a person not hear the three announcements that are always made before a train is taken out of service. In these circumstances anyone that is found will be escorted back to a station or depot.”
The other incidents involved a 12-year-old girl hit by a Victoria Line train and an eight-year-old boy found by a cleaner on the tracks.