Safety concerns raised over 'dangerous' overcrowding on Stevenage Railway Station platform
PUBLISHED: 08:36 08 August 2019
Concerns have been raised about the safety of a platform at Stevenage Railway Station.
Regular commuter Councillor Teresa Callaghan says Platform One is now so busy during the morning commute that there isn't enough room for the number of waiting passengers.
She says standing behind the yellow line - designed to keep passengers at a safe distance from the tracks - forces others to walk in front, too close to the tracks.
But standing in front of the yellow line to make room for people to move down the platform behind, she says, brings a risk of being jostled forward from behind.
Cllr Callaghan made the remarks at a meeting of Stevenage Borough Council's environment and economy select committee last week.
She said: "Platform One, which I think is dangerous, is not wide enough for the level of traffic, given the number of St Pancras trains that go through there.
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"I would say Platform One has a significant safety issue."
Also at the meeting, attended by representative of Network Rail and Govia Thameslink Railway, councillors highlighted the state of the station more generally - pointing to the dirty toilets, empty shops, and automated ticket gates that break down.
The committee's chairman, Cllr Michael Downing, also said the station had been "poorly designed".
Following the meeting, a spokesman for Govia said: "Platforms are busy during peak hours, especially in the mornings. Passenger safety is our first priority - we make regular announcements to encourage passengers to move along the platform and use all available doors, and have crowd management procedures ready in case a safety risk arises.
"We will be monitoring the situation closely with our partners at Network Rail, and would be happy to arrange a meeting with the councillor to talk about her concerns."
Cllr Callaghan made the comments about Platform One following a presentation on the construction of a fifth platform by Network Rail's project manager Phil Daniel.
He said planning permission and most of the land had been obtained, with some negotiations still continuing with Stevenage Borough Council.
He outlined the construction work under way and said the scheme has been "accelerated", but a date for completion has not yet been announced.