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For more than a century, the buffet car tipple has been one of the few pleasures afforded railway travellers.
But drinking on intercity trains and across the rail network could be banned as part of a new plan to prevent the deaths of drunken passengers who fall through the gap between doors and platforms, or between carriages, on to the rails.
The extraordinary measure has been proposed by the rail safety watchdog after 18 people were killed and almost 250 were seriously injured over the past five years after falling from trains or platforms. Many incidents involved intoxicated travellers.
Opponents say a ban – one of a number of ideas put forward in a report by the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) – would unfairly penalise the thousands of rail users who drink moderately on journeys.
In its 72-page report on ‘platform- train interface’ – jargon for getting off and on the train – the RSSB says consideration should be given to following the example in London, where there is already a ban on the consumption of alcohol on buses and the Underground. It was outlawed by Boris Johnson in 2008 in one of his first acts as London Mayor.
The report also reveals that 48 per cent of the passenger-fatality risk on the rail network occurs during boarding and alighting and that drunkenness was identified as a factor in 21 of the 32 deaths at the ‘platform-train interface’ in the past ten years. Males, it says, are involved in more alcohol-related incidents than females.
It also reveals that other causes of accidents include passengers being distracted by mobile phones and tablets, travellers falling over suitcases lying in their path, and rail users – in particular women – tripping up due to unsuitable footwear.
This article first appeared on www.dailymail.co.uk
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